Seized hypercar collection goes to auction

A jaw-dropping collection of seized hypercars including a Lamborghini Veneno and Koenigsegg One:1 will cross the auction block later this year.

The 25-strong collection was bought by Equitorial Guinea vice-president
Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue – also the president/dictator’s son. In 2016, Swiss authorities seized the cars as part of a French-led investigation into misappropriation of state funds. Yet more cars and a mansion thought to be worth EUR 100 million had already been seized a few years earlier.

Obiang Jr. was convicted of a embezzlement by a French court in 2017.

Bonhams will auction the latest clutch of seized cars in Switzerland in September. The cars you see here are the highlights of the sale.

There’s a heavily-bespoked Lamborghini Veneno Roadster – nine built – a rather gorgeous Koenigsegg One:1 – seven built – a McLaren P1 and a Bugatti Veyron.

Other lots rumoured to be in the sale include an Aston Martin One-77, Ferrari F12tdf, Ferrari Enzo and LaFerrari.

The Veneno and One:1 hardly ever come up for auction, so it’ll be very interesting what kind of price they achieve. Both will have cost many millions new. It’s likely that most of the cars in the sale are worth a million at least, so a sale total of EUR 50 million is entirely possible.

Equitorial Guinea is a tiny, deeply impoverished nation on the west coast of central Africa. President Obiang seized power in a military coup in 1979, a tenure that makes him the longest-serving African leader. He is also widely considered to be one of the most brutal dictators in the world.

Things only got worse when massive oil reserves were discovered in 1995. Though the oil has generated an obscene amount of money for the country, virtually none of it has gone towards improving the lives of the 1.2 million citizens. Instead, it has bought mansions and hypercars.

Incidentally, these cars were more than likely bought through an agent or corporation, so the dealers and manufacturers that sold them probably had no knowledge of where the money came from. Even so, these kind of events almost certainly cause some reflection and assessing of whether or not more can be done to prevent their high-profile products being bought with stolen money.

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By Graham King

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