Equatorial Guinea’s vice president has personally ordered the arrest of his half-brother on suspicion of selling a plane belonging to the national airline, according to a government statement.
The vice president and his half-brother are both sons of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mangue.
The latter is the president with the longest life in power after 43 years.
Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue “expressed outrage” over the sale, the statement said.
Ruslan Obiang Nsue, former director of the airline Ceiba International, sold the ATR72-500 to a Spanish company without the approval of the company’s board of directors, according to authorities.
He also allegedly pocketed the proceeds of the sale. He has not publicly commented on these allegations.
His half-brother ordered that he be placed under house arrest and then transferred “to judicial custody”, according to the statement.
“In addition, Nguema Obiang Mangue proposed to the Head of State to suspend him from all his functions within the state-owned company, for having orchestrated the sale of the ATR72-500,” the statement continued.
An investigation was ordered last year after a plane under maintenance went missing in Spain, according to local media.
President Obiang has a strong grip on the oil-rich central African country, with several members of his family holding key positions in government.
He succeeded his uncle in 1979 during a military takeover and survived several coup attempts.
The longtime leader began his sixth term last December after winning nearly 95% of the vote in the previous month’s election. Critics say the poll was not free and fair, but Mr Obiang celebrated his victory saying it showed his party was “great”.
His eccentric son, who also serves as vice president, is reportedly preparing to succeed President Obiang.
The vice president, known as “Teodorin”, has led a lavish lifestyle in the United States and Europe, and even owns an expensive crystal-covered glove that once belonged to Michael Jackson, according to British authorities.
In 2014, US authorities seized a $30 million mansion in Malibu and other assets, including a Ferrari car, claiming they were purchased with the proceeds of corruption.
Two years later, Swiss prosecutors seized 11 luxury cars belonging to him. The cars – including a Bugatti, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Bentleys and Rolls Royces – were auctioned off for around $27 million.
He was also fined and given a suspended sentence by a French court in 2021 for using public funds to fund a luxurious lifestyle in the European nation. He denied any wrongdoing.