Obama Administration Must Return Michael Jackson Glove to Dictator's Son


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Mar 21, 2010
Judge: Obama Administration Must Return Michael Jackson Glove to Dictator's Son

The memorabilia was allegedly used to mask the source of criminal funds from the African nation of Equatorial Guinea, and a judge says that the U.S. government hasn't met pleading standards to seize assets.

9:31 AM PDT 4/17/2012 by Eriq Gardner

Scott Barbour-Pool/Getty Images​

Barack Obama is on the verge of losing possession of a white crystal-covered glove worn byMichael Jackson on the Bad tour.

In October, the Obama administration took hold of some $71 million in seized assets from the son of an African dictator. Among the yachts, cars, jets and a $30 million mansion in Malibu,

the items included $1.8 million worth of Jackson memorabilia, attained when Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, went on a celebrity memorabilia splurge inside the U.S.

But Nguema hasn't been charged with any crime in his homeland, nor has he been convicted of any crime in the U.S.,
so a California federal court has looked unfavorably on the U.S. government's attempts to moonwalk away with the items.

The U.S. accuses top government officials in Equatorial Guinea of being terribly corrupt. While more than 70 percent of the population lives in poverty, the country's leaders allegedly have used the nation's valuable natural resources of timber, oil and minerals to their own advantage. Nguema, who was appointed by his father to be a forestry minister, is said to be in the "inner circle," hoarding profits for himself by means of bribery and corruption.

Nguema moved to the U.S. in 1991 to attend Pepperdine University and, according to the government, his expenses at the time were paid for by a U.S. oil company operating in his country.The emigrant had enormous wealth, though, so he spread it around, moving assets in and out of the country. In 2010, after Jackson died, Nguema is said to have acquired a treasure trove of Jackson memorabilia, including one of the singer's famous gloves.

To take action against alleged corruption in the African country, U.S. officials filed a complaint against Nguema with the intention to seize his assets.

Nguema made a strong objection to the seizure. According to a court filing in January, his lawyer stated:

"Although some of E.G.’s practices may be different from those of Western industrialized nations, that does not mean – as the Government’s Complaint assumes – (a) that everyone who works for the Government, including Minister Nguema, is ipso facto corrupt; (b) that none of Minister Nguema’s fortune, including his property in the United States, was acquired lawfully; or (c) that E.G. has identical ethics, anti-nepotism, public corruption and/or conflict of interest laws as the United States, such that the alleged conduct, even if true, would violate the laws of E.G. – a condition precedent to the Government’s forfeiture action."

Last week, a California federal judge agreed with this assessment.The judge notes that a complaint for forfeiture in rem is subject to a heightened pleading standard. The judge says the government must show that Nguema amassed wealth in a manner illegal under his country's laws, but that the government's complaint against him was "framed in a vague, generalized manner" that didn't trace how his assets were derived from ill-gotten gains.

For instance, Nguema is alleged to have participated in extortion, refusing to approve timber exports until the exporter paid a "tax," but the U.S. government didn't specify particular instances or Nguema's role. Similarly, the government failed to specifically show how allegedly misappropriated funds from a convicted Washington bank specifically showed his participation or how the property was tied into a money laundering operation. The government had alleged that the Jackson glove and Nguema's other property was used to mask the source of his criminal activity, but the judge says the complaint failed to allege sufficient particularity.

Before Nguema gets back his prize possessions, though, the judge has allowed the government the opportunity to amend its complaint.

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com
Twitter: @eriqgardner


They probably want to keep the glove............I don't blame them...............I would too :D
I guess they have to put Obama's name at the top of this to gain attention for the article. This is a clear case of higher ups in poor countries looting the country's resources and living like kings in their homeland and other foreign states--reminds me of Haiti and Baby Doc. However, the judge is right because the US officials did not do their homework properly.
That glove and mj memobrilla should be given to michaels children imo
Kids say the darndest things :)

It's not Michael stuff once you sell or give somethign away its no longer yours.
He gave this stuff up long ago . No one stole it from him. All the thing that had
meaning for Michael he kept and stored and it belongs to the Estate and MJ children

There are some items the Estate is looking to collect if they can from other who have illegal possesion.
but these items have nothing to do with that. This is meorabilia thats been traded on the market for years

Thes particular items confiscated by the Government which include much more then MJ memorbila
were becuase ot illegal activiy they are accusing the owner of. The Judge is saying they need to
reword the claim against Mangue to show more proof of thier accusations or else return the items to him.

This story isnt really even about Obama or Michael for that matter except for the fact some of
MJ memorabilia was among the this mans belonging confiscated.
" In 2010, after Jackson died, Nguema is said to have acquired a treasure trove of Jackson memorabilia, including one of the singer's famous gloves."

If he acquired memorabilia proper way, it's his, but if the memorabilia was bought from someone who didn't have right to sell it, it belongs to Mj's kids and should be returned to them.
This is purely speculation, but the estate is in their lawsuit against Tohme asking him to return MJ "property" that he have in his possession. I wouldn't be surprised if Tohme sold memorabilia stuff for Mangue. Too big of a stretch?
I wouldn't be surprised if Tohme sold memorabilia stuff for Mangue. Too big of a stretch?

Yes! I think the tohme lawsuit is complicated enough without bringing african dictators into it.
I see no reason for that glove not to be with him if he bought or acquired in a proper way. To be honest I think these stuff shouldn't even be sold, they should sell them only for charity.
Ok...so...just give it back...i mean he bought it.....as long as itbwasnt obtainted buyillegal funds i dont see the problem
Of course he acquired it proper way, was there a lot of memorabillia stolen from Neverland? It's just the money that is questionable wether it was obtained legally...and if US government is so incompetent and didn't obtain any proofs, they must return it. Sounds fair...