Cars seized from Equatorial Guinea leader’s son reap €2.8m
Teodorin Obiang is wanted in France on charges of embezzling public funds
A Rolls Royce Phantom, similar to one of nine luxury cars being sold at the Drouot auction house in Paris today. Photograph: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters
From Bugatti and Bentley to Ferrari, Porsche and Maserati, nine luxury cars seized from the son of Equatorial Guinea’s president as part of a money-laundering investigation fetched €2.8 million at an auction in Paris today.
Teodorin Obiang, the son of President Teodoro Obiang and a potential successor, is second vice-president of the small oil-rich African state and is wanted in France on charges of embezzling public funds to buy real estate in Paris.
He denies wrongdoing and says he earned the money from legitimate business.
The cars, seized by French judges in September 2011, drew a crowd of about 100 potential buyers, mostly male, to the prestigious Drouot auction house, with other bids coming over the phone or online.
The auction was ordered by a state collection agency that can use the proceeds to indemnify victims.
Dating from 2004 to 2010, the cars, sporting leather interiors and spotless paint work, appeared infrequently used and have very little mileage. They provide a glimpse into Mr Obiang’s lavish lifestyle in Paris and abroad.
“I’m delighted, it went really well. We met our target - it’s a judicial process and we’re trying to recover as much money as possible,” auctioneer Damien Libert said.