The former Miss France has officially been identified as a suspect in the fraud and scams. She would have received the “gift” of an expensive apartment from the dictator and former president Omar Bongo from Gabon, which could have been obtained in a suspicious manner.
Sonia Rowland has been accused of corruption, theft of public funds and misuse of public funds. She herself claims to be innocent.
“Because of my African roots, many French-speaking countries in Africa called me,” she said during a police interrogation whose contents were leaked to the newspaper. Le Parisien†
She was invited to Gabon to help set up the Miss Gabon contest. There she met First Lady Edith Bongo. A friendship grew there. Later I also met Omar Bongo.”
Co-owner of a real estate company
In 2002, the first lady of Gabon was said to have promised Roland a gift. The following year, Roland received a call from a notary in Paris. Tell us what the gift is: You’ve become a co-owner of a real estate business. This company once again owns an apartment in Paris.
It was an apartment in one of the most expensive areas of the city, its value was estimated at 640 thousand euros. He let Miss France get it. The police asked Roland, “Do you know how that apartment was paid for?” “I have no idea,” she replied.
It turns out that dictator Omar Bongo had a company, Atelier 74, with which he made all kinds of shady purchases for twenty years, according to French authorities. That company turned out to be the real owner of Roland’s new Parisian home.
Money laundering on a large scale
Bongo invested about 40 million euros between 1990 and 2009 with its Atelier 74. Presumably, the money was laundered on a large scale in this way. Gabon has long been known as one of the most corrupt countries in Africa. Omar Bongo was president and also governor for an extended period from 1967 to 2009, the year he died.
Le Parisien He published an overview of Bongo’s properties and also shows another house in Paris (worth 20 million euros), a villa in Nice (11 million euros) and jewelry (3.8 million). He “donated” these homes and other properties not only to Roland, but also to some of his 54 children.
Four of these children are accused of corruption in France. French bank BNP Paribas has also been officially designated as a suspect.
Sonia Rowland says through her lawyer that she was never aware of possible corruption or misconduct regarding her gift. “She admits she was naive, but she didn’t break the law herself.”
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