A CEIBA Intercontinental (C2, Malabo) B777-200(LR) has been seized in France as part of a dispute between the Commercial Bank Guinea Ecuatorial (CBGE) and the government of Equatorial Guinea.

Jeune Afrique reports 3C-MAB (msn 60116) was seized on July 10 while undergoing VIP-fitment at Basel/Mulhouse/Freiburg, CH airport in eastern France ahead of its delivery to Central Africa.

CBGE's dispute with Equatorial Guinea goes back to 2002 when the Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo regime refused to licence the bank to trade in violation of an existing agreement. CBGE subsequently took the matter to an Ivorian court as well as a regional arbitration committee which, in May 2007, awarded the bank nearly EUR70 million (USD77 million) as compensation for damages incurred as a result of lost investments.

The bank's founder and disgraced Cameroonian millionaire Yves-Michel Fotso secured a French court order in 2009 giving him the greenlight to pursue his claims in France.

Following talks between the parties in 2012, CBGE agreed to reduce the overall claim from EUR70 million, to EUR30 million. But, while Malabo did pledge to pay EUR15 million as initial compensation, it is claimed CBGE only ever received EUR7.5 million with question marks hanging over the fate of the remainder.

As such, given the ambiguity of the payments, the CBGE has now renounced the 2012 accord leading to the seizure of the B777 jet. Fotso has reportedly attempted to seize Equatorial Guinea's property in France and Belgium, including its bank assets in Brussels, as well as the Falcon 900LX presidential jet during a stopover at Paris Le Bourget airport.

As Equatorial Guinea's state-owned national carrier, CEIBA has been caught in the middle of Malabo's international disputes with creditors and litigants.

Last year, CEIBA's other B777-200(LR), CS-TQX (msn 40668), was impounded at Madrid Barajas by order of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) which was acting on behalf of of UK-based firm, BTP Fitzpatrick GE Ltd.

The company had taken Equatorial Guinea's government to court over non-payment of EUR12.2 million due for the 2004 construction of a 13km-long stretch of dual motorway from Malabo airport to the Ela Nguema neighbourhood in downtown Malabo.

The aircraft was subsequently released after government agreed to pay BTP Fitzpatrick an undisclosed sum.