Equatorial Guinea’s vice president loses 25 top luxury cars to auctioneers
A collection of 25 luxury supercars which were seized from the extravagant vice president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang, were over the weekend auctioned.
The auction was part of Swiss money-laundering probe in which Obiang is accused of misappropriation of public assets.
The 25 cars include Ferraris and Lamborghinis and were expected to bring in Sh1.9 billion ($18.7m) on Sunday, according to the auctioneer, Bonhams.
Obiang is vice-president to his father, Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea for 40 years.
Rights groups label his administration as one the world’s most corrupt.
One of the most “rare and remarkable” cars, a 2014 Lamborghini Veneno Roadster, was sold for Sh860 million ($8.3m) to an anonymous buyer.
It is a new world record price for a Lamborghini sold at auction, British auctioneers Bonhams said.
The hammer price for the 354km/h (220mph) car, introduced to celebrate Lamborghini’s 50th anniversary, was about 50% more than its pre-sale estimate.
An Aston Martin One-77 Coupe, described as an “absolute rocket ship” by the auction house, went for Sh155 million ($1.5m).
“Cars like this would be the jewel of any collection, but to have them all together is really quite extraordinary,” Lynnie Farrant, press officer for auctioneer Bonhams, told the BBC.
A Swiss bidder told Reuters that an agent for a collector in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, had bought several super cars.
Swiss authorities seized the cars and ordered the impounding of a yacht in 2016.
The yacht was released in the arrangement announced in February, under which Equatorial Guinea agreed to pay Geneva authorities 1.3 million Swiss francs “notably to cover procedural costs,” the prosecutor’s office said.
Other cars sold at the Domaine de Bonmmont golf club on the edge of Geneva included a yellow 2003 Ferrari Enzo for 3.1 million francs, and a 2015 Koenigsegg One:1 that fetched 4.6 million francs.
Swiss prosecutors have been investigating Mr Obiang for money laundering and misuse of public funds, but dropped the case in February this year.
The prosecutors said they closed the inquiry into Mr Obiang as part of an arrangement to sell his cars to fund social programmes in his country.
In 2017, a French court handed him a three-year suspended jail term for corruption.