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Gabon leader's French villa searched in graft probe

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

French authorities Wednesday searched a villa in Nice that was bought by Omar Bongo Ondimba, the late president of the oil-rich African country of Gabon, as part of a graft probe, a judicial source said.

The source confirmed that the property on the French Riviera was bought by Bongo, who ruled for more than four decades until his death in October 2011. He was succeeded by his son Ali.

The source did not specify if the villa was currently owned by Ali Bongo or another member of the family.

Two French judges have been probing the source of money spent in France on luxury homes and mansions by Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, Congo-Brazzaville's President Denis Sassou Nguesso, and Bongo.

The charges were brought by Transparency International, an anti-corruption campaign group which alleges several African leaders and their relatives spent state funds from their countries on lavish purchases in France.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130213/gabon-leaders-french-villa-searched-graft-probe