A federal judge ruled this week that the allegedly corrupt, cousin-dating, cocaine-smuggling, big-spending playboy son of the ruler of Equatorial Guinea may not have his Michael Jackson "Bad Tour" glove back from the US government just yet.
Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, whose father is the president/dictator of Equatorial Guinea, has been accused by the US government of stealing $300 million from his country and laundering it through banks across the world to purchase, among other things, a $30 million Malibu estate, a $38 million Gulfstream, Bentleys, Bugattis, Lamborghinis, Rolls-Royces, Ferraris, and one crystal-covered glove. Meanwhile, more than 70 per cent of Equatorial Guinea lives in poverty.
The US seized approximately $71 million in assets in 2011, and Nguema's Quinn Emanuel litigators have been battling the government ever since. The case, United States of America v. One White Crystal Covered Bad Tour Glove and Other Michael Jackson Memorabilia, et. al. (that's actually the name of the case), has been going on for 28 months.
This week, the federal judge hearing the case ruled on Nguema's motion to dismiss. Although the judge found that the government's evidence — mainly circumstantial reports that Nguema had demanded bribes and laundered funds — was insufficient to support a basis for probable cause, he left open the question of bank fraud, which the government and Nguema's attorneys will argue in the coming months.
According to the judge, "the Court must ascertain which Defendant Assets are linked to the bank fraud allegations and which are linked exclusively to the purported violations of [Equatorial Guinea] law (for which the Government lacked probable cause)."
The partially-granted motion to dismiss leaves the glove firmly in the United States' custody until that question is decided.