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Son of Senegal ex-president jailed six years, ordered to repay $229 million

Karim Wade (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)A court in the West Africa country of Senegal sentenced a former government minister and son of the ex-president to six years in prison and ordered him to return to the state $229 million after his conviction for illegal enrichment.

Karim Wade, 46, served in his the cabinet of his father, former president Abdoulaye Wade, from 2009 until 2012. He ran four government ministries — international cooperation, regional development, air transport, and infrastructure.

His father’s twelve-year rule ended in 2012.

In the capital Dakar Monday, Judge Henri Gregoire Diop of the special economic crimes court said Wade hid the money in offshore accounts in the British Virgin Islands and Panama.

Wade denied the charges. His lawyer said he will appeal the decision. 

Wade’s mother is French and he was born in Paris. He holds degrees from the Sorbonne in management science and financial engineering.

In 2012, the new president, Macky Sall, set up the special economic crimes court to prosecute graft.

The six-year sentence means Karim Wade can’t run in the 2017 presidential elections. He had been nominated Saturday as the candidate of an opposition political party.

Mohamed Seydou Diagne, a lawyer for Wade, said the anti-corruption court didn’t have jurisdiction to hear the case. He said Wade’s prosecution was politically motivated, the BBC reported.

Senegal has about 14 million people. It has one of the highest unemployment rates in the world (48%) and lowest per capita GDPs ($2,100).

During his years as a minister, Wade was in charge of major infrastructure and energy projects, the report said.

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Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.

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