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Congo's president says France cannot probe property

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso on Monday said, following a meeting with French counterpart Francois Hollande, that French justice had no right to investigate his alleged ill-gotten gains.

"What we would like to recall is the principle to which we all subscribe on the international level, which is that of non-interference in internal affairs," Republic of Congo President Sassou Nguesso told journalists after more than an hour of talks with Hollande.

Two Parisian prosecutors have been investigating the conditions under which vast wealth -- including French Riviera and Parisian residences, fleets of cars and other property -- were acquired in France by Sassou Nguesso, as well as Gabon's late president Omar Bongo and President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, as well as some of their close aides.

In 2008, the non-governmental organisations Sherpa and Transparency International France filed a suit calling for an investigation into the origin of these luxury assets. In 2010, the French Cour de Cassation (Supreme Court) upheld this complaint over a lower court.

However, Sassou Nguesso said Monday that the principle of non-interference should be "respected so that French justice does not feel it has the right to deal with matters that relate to the internal affairs of other states".

Asked by a journalist whether he had lost any sleep over the affair, the leader of the oil-rich central African country replied, "Certainly not!"

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130408/congos-president-says-france-cannot-probe-property