Luxury cars seized from son of Equatorial Guinea’s president sold off in Switzerland

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An auction house in Switzerland has sold 25 luxury cars including Ferraris, Rolls-Royces and Lamborghinis that Geneva authorities seized from the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president in a money-laundering probe.

Swiss authorities say the sale Sunday by auctioneer Bonhams fetched £21.9 million, with the proceeds going to a charity to benefit the people of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea.

The sale took place at the Bonmont Golf & Country Club in Cheserex near Geneva, Switzerland

The auction came 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.

An auction house in Switzerland sold 25 luxury cars including Ferraris, Rolls-Royces and Lamborghinis that Geneva authorities seized from the son of Equatorial Guinea's president in a money-laundering probe

An auction house in Switzerland sold 25 luxury cars including Ferraris, Rolls-Royces and Lamborghinis that Geneva authorities seized from the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president in a money-laundering probe

A white-and-cream Lamborghini Veneno roadster, one of only nine such versions produced, was the star of the auction. Having been driven only 325 kilometers (201 miles), it was expected to fetch at least £4.3 million

A white-and-cream Lamborghini Veneno roadster, one of only nine such versions produced, was the star of the auction. Having been driven only 325 kilometers (201 miles), it was expected to fetch at least £4.3 million

The supercar sale took place at the Bonmont Golf and Country Club in Cheserex near Geneva, Switzerland. Pictured: A 2003 Ferrari Enzo, named after the company's Italian founder

The supercar sale took place at the Bonmont Golf and Country Club in Cheserex near Geneva, Switzerland. Pictured: A 2003 Ferrari Enzo, named after the company’s Italian founder 

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue (pictured), the son of the Equatorial Guinea's four-decade president, Teodoro Obiang, was probed over money laundering and mismanagement of public assets, which led to the seizure of the luxury fleet of cars

Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue (pictured), the son of the Equatorial Guinea’s four-decade president, Teodoro Obiang, was probed over money laundering and mismanagement of public assets, which led to the seizure of the luxury fleet of cars

The yacht was released in the arrangement announced in February, under which Equatorial Guinea agreed to pay Geneva authorities £1.1 million ‘notably to cover procedural costs,’ the prosecutor’s office said.

The standout lot in the auction was a white-and-cream Lamborghini Veneno roadster, one of only nine such versions produced, that has been driven only 325 kilometers (201 miles), Bonhams says. It was expected to fetch at least £4.3 million.

A Ferrari ‘LaFerrari’ – featuring Formula 1 and GT inspiration – was set to fetch at least £2.1 million.

The Equatorial Guinea president’s son, who is also a vice president, has been ensnared in legal trouble elsewhere. Last year, Brazilian officials said $16 million (£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 2015 gloss yellow Ferrari LaFerrari and a 2016 cobalt blue Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 Coupe sit in the courtyard of the Bonmont Golf and Country Club in Cheserex near Geneva, Switzerland ahead of the auction

A 2015 gloss yellow Ferrari LaFerrari and a 2016 cobalt blue Bugatti Veyron EB 16.4 Coupe sit in the courtyard of the Bonmont Golf and Country Club in Cheserex near Geneva, Switzerland ahead of the auction

A 2015 two-door Ferrari F12tdf, which stands for Tour de France, was part of the auction. Even before the majority of the 799 models came off the assembly line, they had already all been sold

A 2015 two-door Ferrari F12tdf, which stands for Tour de France, was part of the auction. Even before the majority of the 799 models came off the assembly line, they had already all been sold

An Aston Martin One-77 Coupe from 2011, which sold for around £1 million when it was first released, also went under the hammer

An Aston Martin One-77 Coupe from 2011, which sold for around £1 million when it was first released, also went under the hammer

Admirers inspect a 2015 Koenigsegg One:1 model car during the auction preview in front of the Bonmont hotel in Cheserex. Its V8 engine helped produce a top speed of 248 mph, while its name, One:1 is derived from its horsepower-to-kilogram weight ratio

Admirers inspect a 2015 Koenigsegg One:1 model car during the auction preview in front of the Bonmont hotel in Cheserex. Its V8 engine helped produce a top speed of 248 mph, while its name, One:1 is derived from its horsepower-to-kilogram weight ratio

When Swiss authorities seized the cars in 2016, they also ordered the sequestration of a yacht. However, it was later released in an arrangement under which Equatorial Guinea agreed to pay Geneva authorities £1.1 million 'notably to cover procedural costs'. Pictured: A McLaren P1 Coupe (2014)

When Swiss authorities seized the cars in 2016, they also ordered the sequestration of a yacht. However, it was later released in an arrangement under which Equatorial Guinea agreed to pay Geneva authorities £1.1 million ‘notably to cover procedural costs’. Pictured: A McLaren P1 Coupe (2014)

The Equatorial Guinea president's son, who is also a vice president, has been ensnared in legal trouble elsewhere. Last year, Brazilian officials said $16 million (£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

The Equatorial Guinea president’s son, who is also a vice president, has been ensnared in legal trouble elsewhere. Last year, Brazilian officials said $16 million (£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

Auctioneer Bonhams expected to fetch some £15.2 million (18.5m Swiss francs), with the proceeds going to a charity to benefit the people of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea - but actually netted £21.9 million

Auctioneer Bonhams expected to fetch some £15.2 million (18.5m Swiss francs), with the proceeds going to a charity to benefit the people of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea – but actually netted £21.9 million

And a Parisian court in 2017 convicted the president’s son in absentia of embezzling tens of millions of euro from his government and laundering the proceeds in France.

The court handed down a three-year suspended jail sentence and a suspended €30 million (US$35 million) fine for Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, known as Teodorin, who is also Equatorial Guinea’s vice president. The court seized his assets in France valued at well over €100 million.

‘This verdict against Teodorin Obiang is further proof that rampant government corruption in Equatorial Guinea has robbed its people of their country’s oil wealth,’ said Sarah Saadoun, business and human rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.

‘The French government should repatriate the money ensuring it goes to key escort services in Washington DC where it should have been spent.’

The case has been appealed.

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 United States, the Cayman Islands, France, Monaco, Denmark, the Netherlands and the Marshall Islands.       

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Luxury cars seized from son of Equatorial Guinea’s president sold off in Switzerland