Sonia Rolland: First African-descended Miss France under investigation over apartment gift from Omar Bongo

Rolland became the first African winner of Miss France in 2000, when she was 22 years old. In 2003, the beauty queen received a Paris apartment as a gift from Bongo, with property valued at about 800,000 euros (over $850,000), according in the French newspaper Le Parisien.

The French national prosecutor’s office for financial crimes (PNF) confirmed to CNN on Thursday that Rolland has been officially investigated for “concealing and embezzling public funds.”

According to prosecutors, no warrant was issued for Rolland’s arrest.

In a statement sent to CNN, her lawyer, Charles Morel, said the luxury property Rolland purchased from the Bongo family was obtained without a request and was only discovered to be dubious years later.

“She obviously admits she was naive but disputes any insult,” Morel said, adding: “Never did she know about the origin of the funds or the financial package.”

Morel also stated that Rolland “had no doubt that she would be acquitted at the conclusion of the investigation.”

The Bongo family ruled Gabon for more than five decades.

Omar Bongo died of cardiac arrest while undergoing treatment for bowel cancer in 2009. He ruled the Central African nation for 42 years, becoming president in 1967. seven years after Gabon gained independence from France. He was fast he was succeeded by his son Ali Bongo.

Omar Bongo ruled Gabon with an iron fist, and his decades of rule were overshadowed spiral allegations of corruption.

The late president’s acquisitions in France were the subject of a lengthy criminal investigation by the French authorities, some of which accounts are frozen, property is seized.
In 2016, two houses belonging to Bongo’s son Ali were confiscated, one in Nice and the other in the capital, Paris. according in Le Parisien.
The four children of Omar Bongo were allegations of corruption by French prosecutors, a claim they all deny.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *