Luxurious holdings of Bongo family in France under intense scrutiny

The luxurious assets of Gabon’s ousted president in France have been brought to the spotlight by French media, which pointed out the wealth amassed by the Bongo family during its 56-year rule. 

Early on Wednesday, a group of military officers seized power in the Central African country, annulling the results of Saturday’s election and placing President Ali Bongo under house arrest.

The coup occurred following the Gabonese Election Center announced official results showing Bongo winning a third term with 64.27% of the vote.

Ali Bongo has been in power for almost a decade. While his father, Omar Bongo, assumed the presidency in 1967 and ended with his death in 2009 in Spain.

French judges discovered in an investigation in 2008 that Omar Bongo and his children, including Ali Bongo, purchased several assets in the most prestigious areas of Paris, the daily Liberation reported on Thursday.

Those were purchased with corrupt money from companies including Elf-Total, the daily said, citing judicial investigations.

The family’s luxurious assets include a private hotel of 5,400 square meters (58,125 square feet) in the neighborhood of ministries and embassies, other apartments in other posh districts of Paris, and villas in Nice, a well-known touristic city in Mediterranean France.

The daily added that the value of those assets was uncountable, but that a court order in 2022 estimated it to be around €85 million (approximately $92.4 million).

Gabon is the latest country in Africa to experience a military takeover after members of Niger’s military seized power late last month.

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