The New York Times recently (I am catching up on blogging this weekend) ran a front page story (complete with incriminating documents posted online) on the reasons why Teodoro Nguema Obiang, minister of agriculture and son of the dictator of Equatorial Guinea, can leave and enter the US as he pleases while his dad runs a corrupt and dictatorial regime that would make Robert Mugabe blush.

[US] law enforcement officials believe that “most if not all” of his wealth comes from corruption related to the extensive oil and gas reserves discovered more than a decade and a half ago off the coast of his tiny West African country, according to internal Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement documents.

The younger Obiang–his father has the same name and he is the favorite to succeed the old man–owns a $35 million mansion in Malibu (the aerial photograph above), a record company, fleet of luxury cars, speedboats and a private jet (he also briefly dated the rapper Eve).

The reason is simple:

… “Of course it’s because of oil,” said John Bennett, the United States ambassador to Equatorial Guinea from 1991 to 1994, adding that Washington has turned a blind eye to the Obiangs’ corruption and repression because of its dependence on the country for natural resources. [Production of the country’s nearly 400,000 barrels of oil a day is dominated by American companies like ExxonMobil, Hess and Marathon.] …

Further Reading