in Business & Finance

Eq. Guinea seeks to resolve crisis blocking CEIBA's Euro ops

Posted 20 June 2017 · Add Comment

The President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, dispatched his Minister for Foreign Affairs, Agapito Mba Mokuy, to Spain last week to resolve legal obstacles affecting CEIBA Intercontinental and its operations in Europe, reports ch-aviation.

The issue dates back to 2002 when government refused to licence the Commercial Bank Guinea Ecuatorial (CBGE) to trade in violation of an existing agreement. CBGE subsequently took the matter to an Ivorian court as well as regional arbitration committee OHADA which, in May 2007, awarded the bank XAF45.8 billion CFA Francs (USD74.6 million) as compensation for damages incurred as a result of lost investments. With Malabo unwilling to pay, the bank's founder, disgraced Cameroonian millionaire Yves-Michel Fotso, secured a French court order in 2009 allowing him to pursue his claims in France.

As an entity related to the Equatoguinean government, Fotso has targetted CEIBA Intercontinental attempting to attach various aircraft on several occasions over the past few years including B777-200(LR) and even the President Jet, a Falcon 900LX. None have been successful as Fotso was never able to prove beyond a doubt that the carrier is indeed de-facto owned by the Equatorial Guinean government.

In November 2016, Fotso secured a favourable Spanish court ruling allowing him to pursue his debts in Spain with CEIBA once again a target. As such, given the strong possibility of its aircraft being seized, the carrier suspended its 3x weekly Malabo-Madrid Barajas, its only European service, in late March.

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