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Naive? Really?

A former Miss France has been charged in connection with a €1 million flat that she was given by an African ruler suspected of amassing a fortune through corruption.

Sonia Rolland, 41, is accused of benefiting from the ill-gotten gains of Omar Bongo, the late president of Gabon, who is alleged to have siphoned off hundreds of millions of euros as part of deals to sell his country’s raw materials, notably oil.

Rolland, who won the Miss France title in 2000, six years after her family fled genocide in Rwanda, admitted that she was “naive” to have accepted the flat in Paris from Bongo but denied wrongdoing. French media reported that prosecutors have begun proceedings to seize the property.

Not sure that naive is quite the right word there. I would describe it as rather knowing myself.

11 thoughts on “Naive? Really?”

  1. Back in the early 90s I was told that the owner of every oil licence in Gabon had to write a cheque to the president personally, every year, for his “special education fund”. Gabon’s literacy rates were and are not great.

  2. The lady does not appear to have engaged in the corruption herself. So I’m wondering what she’s guilty of.

    Living off immoral earnings perhaps?

  3. Accepting a gift is not a crime? Being suspected of something is also not a crime and nor does it indicate a crime has been committed. The authorities seem somewhat over zealous in confiscating private property these days. That old nicety of evidence and due process seems to have disappeared somewhere. As Tony Hancock might have said, “Was Magna Carta for nothing? Did she die in vain?” Which if nothing else was an excellent characterisation of how authority views our rights.

  4. IIRC the late Alan Clark referred to Gabon as Bongo Bongo Land. Those reflexively moralistic anti-racists who knew nothing of the existence of Omar Bongo covered their blushes on being caught out by accusing him of dog whistling.

  5. A. Reminds me of PETA, the blonde and the fur coat.
    B. Also reminds me of Richard Feynman and Orange Juice.

    I would say justly earned. The question now is, should she have declared it for income tax purposes?

  6. Douglas Hurd advised the Prime Minister not to appoint Clark because of “Bongo-Bongo Land”. (His own characterisation of Hurd was: “Might as well have a corncob up his arse.”) President Bongo of the Ivory Coast jokingly sent Clark a poster reading: “Gagnez avec Bongo!” which he displayed at his 1987 adoption meeting.

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