DRC president assails French investigation

April 8, 2013 at 4:00 PM
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PARIS, April 8 (UPI) -- Congo's president says French investigators looking into real estate and other luxury acquisitions are interfering with his nation's internal affairs

Two human rights groups filed suit in Paris in 2010, seeking a court to compel the French justice ministry to investigate how Democratic Republic of Congo President Denis Sassou Nguesso came to purchase two residences, one in Paris and one on the French Riviera, along with a fleet of luxury cars and other property. A lower court threw out the groups' request, but an appeals court agreed and French authorities have begun to investigate where Nguesso got the money.

During a meeting between Nguesso and French President Francois Hollande on Monday, Nguesso charged the French investigators had no right to look into his finances, Radio France Internationale reported.

Human rights groups have long charged Nguesso has used the DRC's vast oil reserves to enrich himself and his associates while ordinary citizens live in abject poverty.

"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," Nguesso told reporters after more than an hour of talks with Hollande.

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