SECTIONS

Brazil police seize $16m from Equatorial Guinea VP's delegation

Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema (left) and Vice President who is also his son. [Courtesy]

Reports indicate that more than $16m in cash and luxury watches were seized at an airport in Brazil in the luggage of a delegation accompanying the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea.

Teodorin Nguema Obiang, Vice President of Equatorial Guinea and son of its longtime President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, arrived on Friday on a private plane at Viracopos airport near São Paulo as part of an 11-person delegation.

On Saturday, O Estado reported on its website that federal police found $1.5m in cash in one bag and watches worth an estimated $15m in another.

According to TV network Globo, Obiang was the only member of the delegation who had diplomatic immunity as the group was not on an official mission.

The bags of other delegation members were inspected as Obiang waited outside in a car, it said.

Brazilian law prohibits people from entering the country with more than 10,000 reais (£1,800), in cash.

Brazil is yet to decide on the matter.

 "In permanent coordination with the federal police and the customs service over the case and to decide what measures should be taken," Brazil's foreign ministry told AFP

However, the embassy of Equatorial Guinea in Brasília did not respond to questions about the matter.

Estado quoted a diplomatic source from Equatorial Guinea as saying the money was to pay for medical treatment that Obiang was to undergo in São Paulo.

As for the watches, they were for the "personal use" of the president's son, and were engraved with his initials, the report said.

Accused of using public funds to support a lavish lifestyle, Teodorin Obiang was sentenced in France to a three-year suspended sentence in October 2017 for money laundering.

He has visited Brazil several times, attending the 2015 Carnival in Rio de Janeiro when a samba school won top honours for an Equatorial Guinea-themed parade but was heavily criticised because of alleged funding for it by the Obiang regime.

Obiang's father, an autocrat with broad powers to rule by decree, has been in power for 38 years.??