Reuters International

GENEVA (Reuters) - Geneva prosecutor's office has begun a preliminary investigation into Teodorin Obiang, the son of Equatorial Guinea's president, the prosecutor's spokesman said on Tuesday.

The investigation was first reported in the Swiss 24heures newspaper, which said the Swiss authorities were responding to a request from their French counterparts.

Obiang, vice president of the small central African state, is to face trial in France for suspected money laundering, France's financial prosecutor said last month.

"A preliminary investigation is under way. That means that we are right at the start of the inquiry. We are not making any other comment for the moment," the prosecutor's spokesman, Henri Della Casa, said by email.

Contacted by Reuters, Emmanuel Marsigny, Obiang's French lawyer, said he did not wish to comment.

Obiang has denied wrongdoing and has said his wealth, which has allowed him to buy luxury real estate in Paris, a private jet and a stable of exotic sports cars, was amassed legitimately through successful business dealings.

(Reporting by Tom Miles; Additional reporting by Chine Labbe in Paris; Editing by Alison Williams)


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