Senegal Gives Ex-President’s Son a Month to Explain Wealth

Karim Wade, the son of former Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade, has been given a month by state prosecutors to justify assets accumulated when he served in his father’s government or face jail, his lawyer said.

Wade, 44, is accused of owning majority stakes in a bank and at least two transportation companies including a 300 billion CFA francs ($589 million) stake in Aviation Handling Services SA, a Dakar-based aviation ground support enterprise, El Hadj Amadou Sall, his lawyer, said today in a phone interview.

“These are grotesque accusations and we will show that they are not true,” he said from Dakar, the capital.

Wade was known in Senegal as “superminister” for simultaneously holding the portfolios of energy, infrastructure, international cooperation, and urban planning until his father was defeated in 2012 elections. He also acted as financial adviser to his father, who assumed office in 2000.

The Justice Ministry said that Karim Wade owns companies such as a local unit of Virgin Islands-based Dubai Port World Senegal Ltd., which runs Dakar’s container terminal, and the Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur, or BMCE.

He’s also accused of owning a bank that made deals with international partners to restructure the country’s ailing energy utility, Societe National d’Electricite de Senegal, or Senelec.

Offshore Companies

“The strategy of Karim Wade is to buy these franchises and have them managed by offshore companies,” the ministry said in an e-mailed document. “Key sectors of the economy are in the hands of off-shore companies and the investigators have established the link with Karim Wade.”

In November, Karim Wade was questioned by police and banned from leaving the country. A prosecutor for a special court set up to try crimes of illicit enrichment on March 15 accused Wade of acquiring assets in transportation and building companies and using members of his entourage such as his driver and secretary as fronts.

During his tenure, Senegal signed construction contracts including a 380 billion-CFA franc, 65-kilometer (40-mile) highway linking Dakar with a new airport outside the city that Wade also authorized.

Wade will have to explain untaxed deposits including 910 million francs in Senegalese banks, and two separate deposits of $2.7 million each to banks in Monaco, according to the Justice Ministry document. It also said Karim Wade has an “impressive” fleet of cars, including a Porsche and several luxury SUVs.

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