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French court to try former Gabon president's daughter

Paris, France | October 6, 2023, Friday @ 21:14 in World » GENERAL | By: AFP | Views: 3135
French court to try former Gabon president's daughter

(FILES) Gabon's President Ali Bongo (C-L) and his wife Sylvia Bongo (C-R) sit on the tribune as they attend a parade during the country's independence day celebration in Libreville, on August 17, 2019, marking its independence from France in 1960. The wife of Gabon's ousted president Ali Bongo Ondimba and two former ministers have been charged with "money laundering" and other offences, the public prosecutor said on September 29, 2023, a month after a coup toppled her husband. (Photo by Steeve Jordan / AFP)

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(AFP) - A French court will try Pascaline Bongo, eldest daughter of Gabon's former president Omar Bongo, early next year on suspicion of corruption, a judicial source told AFP.

First reported by French daily Liberation, the January 29-February 1 case will also target French construction firm Egis Route and five other people.

Pascaline Bongo, who was her father's chief of staff until his death in 2009, is accused of helping Egis Route secure public contracts in Gabon in 2010-2011, in exchange for a promised eight million euros ($8.4 million at today's rates).

She denies the charge of accepting bribes, with her lawyer Corinne Dreyfus-Schmidt telling AFP that her client "was never in contact with anyone, no contract was signed and none of the evidence points to a transfer of money".

Liberation reported that the defendant, now aged 67, agreed to a "fraudulent partnership" allowing Egis Route a role in the creation of Gabon's public works agency as consultants.

The agency, created by Pascaline's brother Ali when he became president after Omar Bongo's death, oversaw major projects such as roads, stadiums and public housing.

Two former senior Egis Route managers and its current sales chief Christian Laugier -- formerly in charge of the firm's Africa business and chief executive -- are also in the dock.

The three men are suspected of offering Pascaline Bongo the eight-million-euro kickback for the public works contract.

"We will be contesting the corruption allegations as firmly as possible," Egis Route told AFP.

© Agence France-Presse

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Tags: Gabon, politics, Bongo

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