October 10, 2014 / 5:00 PM / 3 years ago

Equatorial Guinea VP loses Michael Jackson statues in U.S. settlement

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge in California announced a $30 million settlement on Friday between the United States and a vice president of Equatorial Guinea that requires him to forfeit his U.S. assets, including a collection of six life-sized statues of late singer Michael Jackson.

Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the Central African country’s second vice president, used his position of power to amass more than $300 million in the United States through corruption and money laundering, U.S. prosecutors said in court documents.

Obiang must also sell his mansion in Malibu, California, and his Ferrari, which the Justice Department said were bought with money looted from the impoverished country.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a conference call with reporters that the Justice Department’s goal in the case was to see that corrupt officials from around the world do not find safe harbor for their possessions within the United States.

The United States was blocked from forcing Obiang to forfeit his assets in Equatorial Guinea, including a Gulfstream jet and Jackson’s famous white, crystal glove.

The profits of Obiang’s forfeitures will go to charities that provide assistance for people in Equatorial Guinea.

Charges against Obiang were filed in California and Washington, D.C. federal courts.

Reporting by Julia Edwards; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Marguerita Choy

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