- - Sunday, February 27, 2011


Dictator’s son orders luxury superyacht

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa | The son of Equatorial Guinea’s dictator of 30 years commissioned plans to build a superyacht costing $380 million, nearly three times what the country spends on health and education each year, a corruption watchdog said Monday.

The statement from Global Witness said that German company Kusch Yachts has been asked to build the yacht, housing a cinema, restaurant, bar and swimming pool, though construction has not yet started.

Global Witness has been urging Washington to institute sanctions against Teodorin Obiang, whose extravagant lifestyle currently includes a $35 million mansion in Malibu, Calif., a $33 million jet and a fleet of luxury cars, while earning a salary of $6,799 a month as agriculture minister.

The government press office in Equatorial Guinea confirmed that the president’s son had ordered the yacht design, but said he “then dismissed the idea of buying it.”

It said that if the order had gone ahead, he would have bought it with income from private business activities and not “with funds derived from sources of illegal financing or corruption.”

President Teodoro Obiang, who reportedly is grooming his son to succeed him as president, took power in a bloody 1979 coup.


Zelaya supporters forgo elections

TEGUCIGALPA | Followers of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya have decided not to form a political party and take part in 2013 elections.

Mr. Zelaya’s wife says the conditions are not right for the People’s National Resistance Front to participate in an electoral process.

Xiomara Castro says before that can happen, “the coup-mongers must leave power and be punished.”

Some 1,500 delegates at the group’s first general gathering decided instead Sunday to push for a constituent assembly to rewrite the nation’s constitution.


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