A businessman from Equatorial Guinea has told investigators he paid illegal commissions to the son of the country's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema to be allowed to export timber.
German Pedro Tomo, 52, a former lawmaker for Obiang's ruling Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea (PDGE) who fell out with the president and moved to Spain in 2004, made the allegation during several hours of questioning by a French commission of enquiry, Spain's El Pais reported Sunday.
“I paid illegal commissions to Teodorin Obiang to be able to export timber from Equatorial Guinea,” he said, according to the newspaper.
Since 2010 French judges have been probing allegations of corruption under President Obiang, Congo-Brazzaville's President Denis Sassou Nguesso, and Omar Bongo, the late president of Gabon.
In April, French prosecutors called for an international warrant for Teodorin Obiang's arrest to face questioning in the investigation. They have also turned their attention to Equatorial Guinean businessmen living in Spain, El Pais reported.
“The French judges are looking for new witnesses in Spain, two businessmen with timber operations who had to leave the country because they were ruined by paying illegal commissions,” the paper said.
Tomo told the newspaper every timber shipment was subject to a 10-percent “revolutionary tax” to Teodorin Obiang, a former agriculture minister whose father named him second vice president for defence and security last month.
Equatorial Guinea's main opposition parties have accused the veteran president of lining up his son to succeed him. - Sapa-AFP