Procedure & Milestones : Ill-Gotten Gains, Gabon

May 2007 and July 2008The associations Sherpa, Survie, and the Federation of Congolese of the Diaspora file a complaint before the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Paris.  They denounce the actions of five foreign heads of state, including Omar Bongo, holding them liable for misappropriation of public funds, the products of which would have been invested in France.

A preliminary investigation is opened, and then closed on the grounds that the offense is insufficiently substantiated.

(FILES) - Photo taken 30 November 2006 s

Omar Bongo Ondimba

December 2, 2008: Transparency International France (TIF) and a Gabonese national file a complaint and civil suit before the investigating judge of Paris, implicating three foreign heads of state, including Omar Bongo, as well as certain people in their entourage.

November 9, 2010: The Superior Court of Appeals finally declares the complaint admissible.

March 2011: Alerts are issued by the Treatment of Information and Action against Illicit Financial Networks service [service de Traitement du Renseignement et Action contre les circuits Financiers clandestins] (TRACFIN) containing various communications connected to the Ill-gotten Gains case (BMA).

October 6, 2011The investigating judge deposes a witness, Mr. Robert Bourgi.

October 7, 2011TIF files a second complaint and civil suit, given the refusal by the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Paris to comply with the motion of the investigating judges to expand their jurisdiction to include facts uncovered by TRACFIN following the first complaint.

January 31, 2012: The Public Prosecutor finally signs a supplementary indictment for charges of money laundering and receipt of stolen goods in order to expand the jurisdiction of the investigating judges.

Reminder: The investigating judge may make enquiries solely through an indictment from the Public Prosecutor.  The indictment may be filed against a named or unnamed person.

When facts not considered in the indictment are brought to the attention of the investigating judge, he or she must immediately give the complaints or reports establishing these facts to the Public Prosecutor.

The Public Prosecutor may then: call for the investigating judge, through a supplementary indictment, to provide information on these new facts; call for a new investigation to be opened; refer the case to trial; order an inquiry; decide to close the case or carry out one of the measures provided for in Articles 41-1 through 41-3; or transmit the complaints or reports to the Public Prosecutor who is territorially competent.

July 4, 2012: Maître Bourdon, lawyer for TIF, conveys additional information to the investigating judges, including, in particular, the acquisition of a new apartment by Miss Pascaline Bongo.

ACTION IN PROGRESS…