Paris Judicial Court: Pascaline Bongo fixed on her fate this Monday, April 22

Gabon – Suspicions of corruption: Pascaline Bongo released in Paris

The Paris Criminal Court on Monday pronounced the acquittal of Pascaline Bongo, eldest daughter of the late Gabonese President Omar Bongo, as well as several co-defendants, in a case of alleged corruption dating back to the early 2010s in Gabon.

Pascaline Bongo, aged 68, was accused of passive bribery of a foreign public official alongside the French engineering company Egis and three of its former executives, as well as Gabonese businessman Franck Ping and lawyer Danyèle Palazo-Gauthier. The trial, held in early 2024 in Paris, attracted intense interest because of the Bongo family's ties to Gabonese politics and the implications of the case for Franco-Gabonese relations.

The accusations related to facts dating back to the early 2010s, in this case, allegedly questionable financial transactions between French companies and Gabonese officials. However, the court ultimately concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support the corruption charges against the defendants, thus acquitting them.

The court ruled that, in the position she held at the time as “High personal representative of the President of the Republic”, she didn't have “no power to award the contract” concerned and that, “at most, his functions and his real or supposed fraternal proximity to the President of the Republic could have allowed him to use his influence.”

“However, there is nothing in the file to demonstrate an intervention in this sense and, above all, the offense of trading in influence by a foreign public official did not exist at the time of the facts”detailed the president while delivering the deliberations.

This decision was greeted with relief by Pascaline Bongo's Defense. “It’s a victory for the law”said M.e Corinne Dreyfus-Schmidt.