Rwandan-born French actress Sonia Rolland has been positioned below formal investigation in France following her indictment in a probe into the massive fortune of the late Gabonese President Omar Bongo, which prosecutors allege consists of ill-gotten property.
Rolland was the primary African-born winner of the Miss France pageant in 2000, when she was age 22. In 2003, the sweetness queen obtained an residence in Paris as a present from Bongo, with the actual property valued at about €800,000 (over $850,000), according to the French newspaper Le Parisien.
The French Nationwide Prosecutor for Monetary Crimes (PNF) confirmed to CNN on Thursday that Rolland has been put below formal investigation on expenses of “concealment and embezzlement of public funds.”
No warrant of arrest has been issued in opposition to Rolland, the prosecutor’s workplace stated.
In a press release despatched to CNN, her lawyer Charles Morel stated the luxurious actual property Rolland acquired from the Bongo household was unsolicited and was solely found to be questionable after a few years.
“She clearly acknowledges having been naive however disputes any offense,” Morel stated, including: “At no time did she know of the origin of the funds or the monetary package deal.”
Morel additionally acknowledged that Rolland had “little question that she will likely be cleared on the finish of the investigation.”
The Bongo household has dominated Gabon for greater than 5 many years.
Omar Bongo died of cardiac arrest whereas being handled for intestinal most cancers in 2009. He dominated the Central African nation for 42 years, having develop into president in 1967, seven years after Gabon gained independence from France. He was swiftly succeeded by his son Ali Bongo.
Omar Bongo dominated over Gabon with an iron fist together with his many years in energy blighted by spiraling allegations of corruption.
The late president’s acquisitions in France have been topic to a long-running legal inquiry by French authorities, with a few of his accounts frozen and properties seized.
In 2016, two homes belonging to Bongo’s son Ali have been seized, one in Good and the opposite within the capital, Paris, according to Le Parisien.
4 of Omar Bongo’s kids have been indicted for corruption by French prosecutors – an allegation all of them deny.