The hip-hop star known as Eve, who is expected to release a new rap album this year, has been drawn into a massive U.S. Senate investigation into the illicit movement of millions of foreign dollars through the American financial system, a new government report shows.
Senate investigators spent three years tracking money flowing into the U.S. from the accounts of her on-and-off again boyfriend Teodorin Nguema Obiang. He is the playboy son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, the corrupt dictator whose three-decade reign has been marked by rumors -- believed to be falsely spread to incite fear -- of cannibalism. Investigators believe most, if not all, of the millions in cash came from corruption related to the massive oil and gas reserves off the coast of the tiny West African country.
According to the report released last night, Obiang used middle men – lawyers, escrow and real estate agents, and in one case, his then-girl friend, the statuesque rapper-actress Eve Jeffers – to allegedly set up shell companies in the U.S. Through those, investigators say, Obiang wired in funds that enabled him to buy luxury cars, a $30 million Malibu estate and place a down payment on a Gulfstream jet.
Two Los Angeles lawyers allegedly carried out most of the scheme. They were summoned to testify before the senate today to explain why they set up shell companies on Obiang's behalf.
Eve has a cameo in the report, as the president of what senate investigators described as a shell company. Obiang called it "Sweet Pink, Inc.," which was evidently set up in late 2005 "to employ individuals at the home [Obiang] maintained before he purchased the Malibu Property and to handle payroll and other matters related to the employment of those individuals," according to the report.
It is unclear if the money may have also helped Obiang finance his elaborate efforts to woo Eve, which included setting up a record label and reportedly paying $700,000 to rent Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen's 300-foot yacht Tatoosh for a romantic Christmas cruise around St. Barts.
Eve has appeared in movies alongside Hollywood superstars Daniel Craig, Kevin Bacon, Vin Diesel, Queen Latifah and Ice Cube. She recently starred on two episodes of the hit show Glee and is reportedly set to release a new album entitled "Lip Lock" this year.
Her publicist did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The status of their relationship is unclear, though reports have since had Obiang linked romantically to others.
If Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., has his way, Obiang won't be funneling more money into the U.S. to court women, or do much of anything else.
The investigation, conducted by the Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which Levin chairs, highlights the variety of loopholes that have allowed corrupt foreign officials to channel ill-gotten cash into legitimate American holdings.
"We've got some significant holes in our protection," Levin said. "We're going after corruption. It is a cancer. It erodes the rule of law."
Equatorial Guinea isn't the only country the committee is focusing on. The former president of Gabon, Omar Bongo and his relatives are also accused of moving more than $100 million dollars through U.S. banks to purchase armored vehicles and supply a "lavish lifestyle" for his son, current President Ali Bongo and his wife Inge Bongo, according to the report.