Equatorial Guinea’s president Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and his government deposited up to $700 million in U.S.’ Riggs Bank. A U.S. Senate subcommittee’s 2004 investigation criticized Riggs for failing to report potential money laundering in the Equatorial Guinea accounts. It also outlined examples of how Riggs allowed Obiang to make cash deposits and withdrawals from accounts he controlled personally. Riggs, which was acquired by PNC last year, later agreed to pay a $16 million fine for failing to report these and other suspicious transactions.
Equatorial Guinea’s embassy insists the money, which was released back to the country, belongs to the government. "Attributing that money to President Obiang’s personal wealth is like saying a person who runs a hospital is worth the amount of revenue the hospital generates," the embassy spokesperson wrote in an e-mail. A half dozen other sources disagree. "They may say it is the country’s money, but the president does control everything," says Arvind Ganesan, a director at Human Rights Watch who has studied how the Equatorial Guinea government uses its oil revenue, "Under Obiang, the country's wealth is basically a presidential ATM." So they say.
Now that this report has been made public, the President has decided that some deposits made with particular banks in Europe be diverted so as to retain them, therefore, I want to inform you that by virtue of my position as a special duties coordinator to the President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, I have the honour of nominating and appointing you as a front, to open an account in a designated bank in Europe, so this money can be re-channelled. We assume you will understand the responsibilities, the confidentiality and of course the trust bestowed on you as a result of this project. I know this is unexpected but I have come to know that the best things in life come unexpected. You alone are privy to this information by virtue of my nominating and appointing you. Please send your response to my private mailbox firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please, do get back to me as soon as possible for details.
Jonathan R Lloyd.
For Special Duties.