Equatorial Guinea Vice President Teodoro "Theodorin" Nguema Obiang is known for his lavish lifestyle. (Courtesy photo)
Equatorial Guinea Vice President Teodoro "Theodorin" Nguema Obiang is known for his lavish lifestyle. (Courtesy photo)

South African officials have seized a superyacht and two palatial homes owned by Equatorial Guinea’s Vice President Teodoro Nguema Obiang. A court ordered the seizures after local businessman Daniel Janse van Rensburg won a lawsuit against Obiang for unlawful arrest and torture, BBC News reported Monday.

He has demanded compensation of about $2.2m (£1.8m). He says he was unlawfully detained in Equatorial Guinea for about 500 days after a business deal went wrong.

The vice president, the son of the world’s longest-serving ruler, has not yet commented on the case. He and President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo have long been accused of seeing oil-rich Equatorial Guinea as their personal fiefdom, and of abusing its wealth and resources.

This is the latest in a string of rulings issued against him by courts around the world.

“We attached two houses… in Cape Town in a formal application two weeks ago and the superyacht last Tuesday,” lawyer Errol Eldson, who is representing the businessman, told AFP news agency.

An application to auction the assets had been filed, he added.

Van Rensburg has waged a lengthy legal battle against the vice president in the South African courts, and published a book last year on how a business trip to Equatorial Guinea in 2013 “turned into a journey to the depths of hell” following his “harrowing incarceration” at the notorious Black Beach prison.

Eldson told AFP that his client had set up an airline in Equatorial Guinea with a local politician who withdrew from the venture at the last minute and demanded a financial refund.

The dispute led to the politician phoning Vice-President Obiang and “within 10 minutes” an elite security force unit “picked Daniel up and threw him into Black Beach prison,” the lawyer was quoted as saying.

Obiang is widely seen as being groomed by his father, who has been in power for 43 years, to succeed him.

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