An auction house in Switzerland is set to sell a collection of luxury cars that authorities seized from the son of Equatorial Guinea‘s president in a money laundering probe.
The 25 cars include Ferraris, Rolls-Royces and Lamborghinis and are estimated to bring in 18.5 million Swiss francs ($18.7m) on Sunday, according to the auctioneer, Bonhams.
“This is an exceptional sale,” Philip Kantor, head of European motoring at Bonhams, told AFP news agency. “It’s a private collection of supercars, with very low mileage.”
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 Nguema Mbasgo, and two others following a probe of money laundering and mismanagement of public assets.
Prosecutors said they were dropping charges of financial wrongdoing against Teodoro Nguema Obiang, who is also the vice president of the West African nation, but were confiscating the luxury cars as part of the case.
Under the Swiss penal code, prosecutors can choose to drop charges in this category if defendants offer compensation “and restore a situation that is in conformity with the law”.
Among the cars to go under the hammer at a golf club in the village of Cheserex, 30km (19 miles) from Geneva, are seven Ferraris, three Lamborghinis, five Bentleys, a Maserati and a McLaren.
The most expensive lots are a Lamborghini Veneno Roadster, valued at between 4.8 million and 5.7 million euros ($5.2-6.2m) and yellow Ferrari hybrid at 2.4-2.6 million euros ($2.6 – 2.8m).
All cars will be sold with no reserve price.
The Equatorial Guinea president’s son has also been ensnared in legal trouble elsewhere.
In October 2017, a Paris court handed him a three-year suspended jail term after convicting him of siphoning off public money to buy assets in France.
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He was accused of spending more than 1,000 times his official annual salary on a six-storey mansion in an expensive part of the French capital, a fleet of fast cars and artworks, among other assets.
He was also given a suspended fine of 30 million euros ($32.8m).
Last year, Brazilian officials said $16 million in undeclared cash and luxury watches that were seized from a delegation Obiang led may have been part of an effort to launder money embezzled from the country’s government.
The government of Equatorial Guinea denounced the seizure at the time and said that the cash and watches were meant to cover the cost of the trip.
The government also said Brazilian authorities had misrepresented “the true sum of the money and the value of the confiscated jewels”, and called for the confiscated assets to be returned.
The younger Obiang, known as Teodorin, is seen as on track to succeed his father.
Last October, he was promoted from colonel directly to division general, without passing through the normal intermediary rank of brigade general.
The following month, he presided over a cabinet meeting for the first time.
Equatorial Guinea is one of the continent’s top petroleum producers and has a population of just 1.2 million. The West African nation is regularly cited by NGOs as one of the most corrupt in the world.