Corruption of Citigroup and BofA, Obiangs Cite Obama, ExxonMobil's
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 15 -- Ten days after the release by the U.S. Senate
of a report on evasion by the son of Equatorial Guinea's President
for Life Teodoro Nguema
anti-money laundering controls by and at Citigroup, Bank of America,
Wachovia / Wells Fargo and others, the Obiang regime fired back,
calling the report racist and citing in its defense the election of
Inner City Press is putting the Obiangs' memo online, here.
exhaustively shows how Teodorin and his lawyers moved tens of
millions of dollars through Citibank and Wachovia (owned by Wells
Fargo since the financial meltdown), and used accounts at Bank of
America, City National and other banks. The report described how
over $100 million into the United States using wire transfer systems
at just two U.S. financial institutions, Wachovia Bank and Citibank.
Neither system had been programmed to detect or block wire transfers
bearing his name. In 2009... Citibank declined to take the same
action due to projections that identifying, freezing, and
investigating these wire transfers would generate too much work for
its anti-money laundering staff...From 2004 to 2007, Mr. Obiang used
accounts at three U.S. banks, Union Bank of California, Bank of
America, and Citibank, often with Mr. Berger’s assistance, to
deposit, transfer and spend nearly $10 million. Most of these funds
were wire transferred from accounts in Equatorial Guinea held in the
name of Mr. Obiang or two EG companies he controlled, Somagui
Forestal and Socage."
Government of Equatorial Guinea in a communique sent to the Press on
February 15, the President's Day holiday in the U.S., argues that
to Equatoguinean legislation, as occurs exactly in the most of the
world, the natural and legal persons, as occurs in this case with the
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, are perfectly authorized to do
business and maintain other types of jobs at the margin of their
"marginal" business includes a $30 million mansion in
Malibu, a jet and recording studio, among other things. Previously he
and his president for life father Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo moved
their money, like Pinochet, into the U.S. through Riggs Bank.
and its Fair Finance Watch dug into these connections, including to
Spain's Santander Bank and HSBC, when the Obiang disgraced Riggs was
being sold to PNC Bank. Click here for coverage
in Le Monde, in French.
Federal Reserve did little at that
time. With the major banks it regulates now implicated again in
corrupt money laundering, what will the supposedly chastened Federal
President for life Obiang, speaking at the UN, Citi
and BofA not shown
response complains that the Senate report deals only with African
corruption -- Angola with HSBC, Gabon's Omar Bongo with Citigroup,
Nigeria's Abubakar with Suntrust and the ubiquitous Citibank -- and
not any other continent. In this, it echoes the defenders of Sudan's
Omar al Bashir, that the International Criminal Court and its
prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo have so far indicted only African
Guinea goes further. Its cover e-mail to Inner City Press argues that
"it can be considered as an authentic insult to Africa, and more
so after the people of the United States have voted in the majority
for a President of African origin."
letters, Equatorial Guinea screams that
Africa and in Equatorial Guinea we are tired of BEING TREATED FOR
CENTURIES LIKE INHUMAN BEASTS, ON WHICH ALL THE BRUTAL AND EVIL
BEHAVIOURS POSSIBLE ARE BLAMED. This is again so verifiable in this
case that even different media of the United States have written
these days, in regards to this case, THAT THE FAMILY OBIANG PRACTICES
ICC's and Ocampo's indictees, Jean Pierre Bemba, the previous Vice
President of the Congo, argued during his campaign against Joseph
Kabila that, "I am not a cannibal!"
defense that's closest to the mark is that
also wish to put on the record that the United States is the country
from which comes the highest foreign investment in Equatorial Guinea,
which exceeds 12 billion USA dollars, and that no American
corporation has complained of fraudulent behaviour of the Government.
We also expect the Senate Subcommittee to be consistent with the
criteria of the North American companies."
should it be
the other way around? Major U.S. investors with the Obiangs include
ExxonMobil, Marathon Oil, Hess Corporation, and Noble Energy. We will
have more on all this.
* * *
Strauss-Kahn Coy on Opposing Sarkozy and Intervening in Greece, IMF and
Greek Denials, Yemen Deferrals
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, February 4, updated
-- The managing director of the International
Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn bragged Thursday to radio
station RTL in his native France that he might leave the IMF early --
and perhaps challenge Nicolas Sarkozy for the French presidency --
and that if
asked by Greece, the IMF could "intervene" in
both comments were dodged later on Thursday by the spokesperson for
Strauss-Kahn and the IMF, Caroline Atkinson. Strauss-Kahn is quoted
that "As it stands... I am planning to see out my mandate.
But if you ask me whether in certain circumstances I could reconsider
this question, the answer is yes, I could reconsider this question."
consciously leaving open the door to reconsider and leave.
But Ms. Aktinson emphasized only his "planning to see out my
mandate" and called everything else "hypothetical."
Greece, Strauss-Kahn said
regally, "I have a mission on the ground to
provide technical advice requested by the Greek government. And if
we're asked to intervene, we will." He added, "I understand
that the Europeans don't want this for the moment."
on Thursday morning asked Dimitris Droutsas, Alternate Foreign
Minister of Greece, to describe his government's thinking about IMF
help. Mr. Droutsas responded on the record, "Categorically may
I state, any idea of the IMF... there is no idea about that."
Thursday's IMF biweekly briefing, Ms. Aktinson emphasized the "the
IMF" -- not just Strauss-Kahn -- "had a technical team in
Athens because the Greeks are very interested in getting any help
from us on the technical implementation of the plan."
Later on February 4 Droutsas told Inner
City Press, on camera, that he was unaware of any IMF team having been
in Athens. Video here,
last question. One wag wondered, has the IMF become like the CIA, or Xe
/ Blackwater, whose presence is alleged and denied?
IMF under Strauss-Kahn brags
about being present. As with
the wider UN, the rush to be relevant.
ready to "intervene" in Greece, could leave IMF - "hypothetically"
then, that when Inner City Press asked Ms. Aktinson about Yemen --
using as the lead in a quote by UK Foreign Secretary (Ivan Lewis)
that "we address the economic problems that face Yemen,
especially through the IMF program" -- Ms. Atkinson said she
didn't have information about Yemen and would have to respond later
to Inner City Press. But as February
4 hit midnight, no information was provided. Yemen is in the
news, and one would expect the
omnipresent Strauss-Kahn to be all over it. We'll see.
a pro-IMF spin in responding to Inner City Press' question about the
IMF's new loan to Haiti, but we'll be writing about that later, along
with the IMF's Yemen response. Watch this site.