Let it go It reveals what is one of the main channels for channeling Congo’s oil revenues from Paris through Switzerland and Monaco to Brazzaville. The company in question is Orion Oil and its head, Lucien Ebata, is close to President Denis Sassou-Nguesso and has many connections with French economic and political figures. You can find all our articles here.
“Which car did you buy?” Lucien Ebata on the phone appears to have disappeared on December 6, 2016, according to a conversation intercepted by forensic customs investigators. The Paris-based dealer laughs and replies: “Well, you ordered from us.” The leader of the Orion team no longer remembers which vehicle it is. However, this is not a used city car, but a white convertible Bentley. The seller recalls in the conversation that he still has a balance of 274,435 euros to pay. A straw. The businessman’s memory may have faded because at the time he owned many vehicles in France: two Land Rover station wagons, two Porsche Cayennes, a Bentley Continental, a Mercedes E-Class and a Fiat 500. He has something to lose. .
Is Lucien Ebata’s net worth in millions or billions of euros? Mystery. The 53-year-old Canadian Congolese does not appear in the ranking of the ultra-rich, which is usually published by the magazine. Forbes, it is the franchisee for French-speaking Africa. On December 20, 2021, Lucien Ebata, who faced the investigating judge, assures that “annual income” It is between 1 and 5 million euros. The seemingly insignificant figures for his extravagant lifestyle were well documented in the judicial investigation that led to his indictment in France. It’s a no-brainer to say that Lucien Ebata lived the high life, financed by cash that investigators believe came from a complex system of embezzlement of state funds in Congo-Brazzaville. An elaborate montage that benefited dignitaries of Denis Sassou-Nguesso’s regime as well as Ebata himself.
In October 2021, a businessman in police custody was questioned about possible money laundering: “I reject this analysis” contacted with issue, Lucien Ebata, who is presumed innocent, answered in the voice of his lawyer Me Antoine Vey: “We condemn the violation of privacy […]. This statement seriously damages the reputation of Mr. Ebata and his group.”
5,594 euro full add-on
One of the favorite boutiques of the Orion boss in Paris is the Zilli clothing store located near the Champs-Élysées. Invoices show he spent more than €235,000 there in 2011 and 2012 – in cash. On December 8, 2011, he raided the racks, dropping €38,000 in one trip to get a suit, shirt, trousers and a pair of crocodile shoes for €3,600.
For Parisian food, Lucien Ebata praises the cuisine of Laurent, a luxury restaurant in the 8th arrondissement. On May 31, 2012, along with ten guests, he fled with a full bill of 5,594 euros, paid in cash. The menu is wonderful: foie gras, langoustines, sections of turbot, lobsters, pig trotters, all washed down with Château d’Yquem 1961 and Mouton Rothschild, €1,150 each.
Orion’s boss owns no real estate in Paris, where his wife and children live. On the other hand, he owns in other countries, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Spain, South Africa… According to the traces of bank transactions discovered by the investigators, this inheritance is worth several million euros. In Paris, he lived for a long time in Rue Beaujon, near the Arc de Triomphe, for 5,500 euros per month. The family then moved to Avenue Marceau near the Champs-Elysées. During the search of his house in May 2017, court customs officers discovered that the businessman was particularly fond of luxury watches. They found nine, including Rolex, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Chopard and Dior. They were the object of an expert estimate, which set a range between 38,200 and 56,850 euros as a whole.
A hotel bill of 493,000 euros
To travel, Lucien Ebata frantically uses private jets. In a note dated June 22, 2017, Tracfin, Bercy’s financial intelligence service, noted that Jet Monde had paid the businessman’s various companies about 7 million euros in service fees over the previous three years. Lucien Ebata not only benefits from this extravagant life: he maintains a wide circle of relatives, friends and business associates, as well as a network of Congolese officials, the connections necessary to protect his business and status. A whole small world that appreciates the palaces of Paris. French investigators found huge bank notes on the peninsula, from the businessman’s favorite grand hotel, in his name or those closest to him. A month and a half after the occupation on July 14, 2017, two rooms – including 111, one of the most expensive suites – cost 493,000 euros for one of them.
One of the most frequent and expensive guests of the Orion boss is undoubtedly Calixte Nganongo, the former finance minister of the Congo. The latter was entitled to all expenses paid for approximately sixty nights in the finest establishments between 2016 and 2018, when he was a member of the government, a total of 278,000 euros. This central character of the Brazzaville regime attracts the attention of Ebata, the former leader of the Congolese National Oil Company. Shortly after Nganongo was appointed to government in May 2016, the businessman ordered €60,500 worth of leather goods and shoes from a store on the Champs Elysées. On this occasion the salesman was sent to Brazzaville to take the measurements of the female minister. Was it a gesture designed to secure the good graces of the great treasurer? “Maybe Mr Nganongo [est] After becoming the finance minister, he came to me and I gave him advice on clothes and shoes. In October 2021, Lucien Ebata, who was in police custody, responded. A true friend.