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Supercars auctioned for €24.7m after being seized from African leader’s son

The cars were seized amid a money-laundering probe.

People looking at a Ferrari LaFerrari at the auction
People looking at a Ferrari LaFerrari at the auction
Image: Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP

PEOPLE HAVE SPLASHED out more than £22 million (€24.7 million) at an auction for dozens of luxury motors seized from the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president amid a money-laundering probe.

The 25 lots sold by auction house Bonhams included a white-and-cream 2014 Lamborghini Veneno roadster that cost the buyer 8.28 million Swiss francs (€7.6 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 323km and has an official top speed of 358km/h, Bonhams said.

Total proceeds from the sale beat the 18.5 million francs (€17 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 the arrangement announced in February, under which Equatorial Guinea agreed to pay Geneva authorities 1.3 million francs (€1.1 million) “notably to cover procedural costs”, the prosecutor’s office said.

switzerland-luxury-car-auction The new Lamborghini Veneno during the first media day of the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show, Switzerland Source: AP

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 (€2.8 million), and a 2015 Koenigsegg One:1 that fetched 4.6 million francs (€4.2 million).

An armoured 1998 Rolls-Royce Silver Spur limousine, described as “perfect for someone with enemies” but requiring extensive work, sold for 86,250 francs (€79,560).

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The Equatorial Guinea president’s son, who is also a vice president, has been ensnared in legal trouble elsewhere.

Last year, Brazilian officials said £13 million (€14.6 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 the son 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.

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