Car lovers from around the world have splashed out more than £22 million at an auction for dozens of luxury motors seized from the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president amid a money-laundering probe.
The proceeds from the auction will go to a charity that support’s the country’s people.
The 25 lots sold by auction house Bonhams included a white-and-cream 2014 Lamborghini Veneno roadster that cost the buyer £6.8 million, including a 15% premium for the auction house but with potential taxes still to be added.
The supercar — one of only nine produced — had been driven only 201 miles and has an official top speed of 223mph, Bonhams said.
Total proceeds from the sale beat the £15.2 million authorities had hoped to fetch for a charity to benefit the people of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea.
The auction comes after the Geneva prosecutor’s office announced in February it had closed a case against Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the son of the country’s four-decade president, Teodoro Obiang, and two others following a probe of money laundering and mismanagement of public assets.
Swiss authorities seized the cars and ordered the sequestration of a yacht in 2016.
The yacht was released in an arrangement announced in February, under which Equatorial Guinea agreed to pay Geneva authorities £1 million “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 £2.5 million, and a 2015 Koenigsegg One:1 that fetched £3.8 million.
The Lamborghini Veneno. Credit: Laurent Gillieron/Keystone/AP
The Koenigsegg One:1. Credit: Laurent Gillieron/Keystone/AP
An Aston Martin One-77 Coupe. Credit: Laurent Gillieron/Keystone/AP
An armored 1998 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur limousine, described as “perfect for someone with enemies” but requiring extensive work, sold for £70,000.
Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who is also a vice president of Equatorial Guinea, has been ensnared in legal trouble elsewhere.
Last year, Brazilian officials said £13 million in undeclared cash and luxury watches that were seized from a delegation he led may have been part of an effort to launder money embezzled from the country’s government.
A Paris court in 2017 convicted him of embezzling millions in public money, although the case is the subject of an appeal.
The Geneva prosecutor’s office in February cited rules allowing prosecutors to close cases in which the person under investigation had “repaired the damage or done everything that could have been expected of him or her to make up for the wrong that was caused”.
The investigation involved authorities in the US, the Cayman Islands, France, Monaco, Denmark, the Netherlands and the Marshall Islands.
More than 1.2 million people live in the tiny country of Equatorial Guinea, an African nation with one of the worst human rights records in the world.