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Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is the leader of Equatorial Guinea, one of the world's poorest countries, but is also paradoxically one of the world's wealthiest heads of state, with an estimated net worth of $600 million. For perspective, Barack Obama has a net worth of about $11.8 million. Equatorial Guinea, despite having some of Africa's largest oil reserves, has one of the most underdeveloped infrastructures and poorest populations in the world – so where does the money go? The answer, at least from the outside, seems to be directly from the corporate accounts of Exxon Mobil and other oil companies straight into the pockets of Obiang and his family. Even though that sounds like hyperbole, it may be exactly the case. In 2003, Obiang announced that to combat corruption in public service jobs, he would be taking full control of the national treasury. He then withdrew half a billion dollars (that's billion with a B) in state money from the national treasury and deposited it into accounts in his own name at Riggs Bank – which was later absorbed by PNC Financial Services in 2005 – a financial services company based in Washington D.C., effectively siphoning off all of the state's money into his own pocket. In addition to draining the country's accounts, he's also been implicated in various human rights abuses, electoral fraud, nepotism, and using security contractors to maintain control over the country. Even ignoring all of this, one fact alone is enough to demonstrate what's wrong with Obiang and Equatorial Guinea; the nation spends more money on presidential palaces than it does on social programs.

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