An African Prince's Confiscated Hypercar Collection Just Auctioned For $40 Million
It's pretty easy to imagine what a modern day member of nobility looks like. Neatly tailored suits, probably live in some kind of castle with a collection of ultra-exclusive cars and cash on tap, like Cinderella, but set in 2019 instead of a land far, far away, and with a harem of high-end escorts instead of a damsel in distress.
Even if you didn't indulge in A Christmas Prince over the Yuletide, you may be surprised to learn that outside of the Royal Family we all know and love, such Princes still exist throughout the world, and they're far guadier in splashing their cash than the tea-and-biscuits-grade princes we have in Will, Charles and Harry. Take, for instance, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, a prince in all but name whose father, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, is the long-time dictator of Equatorial Guinea.
Brief run-down: Mbasogo, the 'King' in this instance, is one of the men credited with helping to exploit Equatorial Guinea's rich oil reserves in the mid 20th-century. Funneling billions of dollars worth of oil revenue to himself and his family throughout the '70s and '80s, he established a net worth for himself in excess of $600 million, effectively buying his way into office in 1979.
Upon assuming the role of president, he passed sweeping measures to make himself a dictator for life, and has been accused of everything from corruption to cannibalism. Seriously. Look it up.
His son (and heir to the throne, if you will) Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue now serves as his vice president, however his interest in actually running his home nation seems lacklustre to say the least. In 2004, The New York Times reported him as "a rap music entrepreneur and bon vivant, fond of Lamborghinis and long trips to Hollywood and Rio de Janeiro," for instance.
However, his playboy lifestyle came to a screeching halt last year, as he was found guilty of embezzlement and corruption twice in two distinct countries, having spent over $300 million on properties and luxury goods between 2004 and 2011. In one spectacular instance of guadiness, he spent 10 times his official annual salary on a100-room mansion on Avenue Foch in Paris.
He was also found guilty of money laundering and corruption on a massive scale, and his cars and luxury properties were seized.
As part of these proceedings, Swiss authorities impounded a collection of staggeringly rare hypercars, all of which on Sunday went up for auction without reserve through Bonhams. “The cars represent an international roll call of prestige and performance marques,” Bonhams said in a statement.
The jaw-dropping list of 25 cars features an Aston Martin One-77, Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari LaFerrari, Koenigsegg One:1, Lamborghini Veneno Roadster and McLaren P1 as highlights.
Bonhams expected to fetch more than $18 million AUD for the entire collection, however despite being held without reserve, according to the Associated Press the collection eventually accumulated more then $40 million. It's believed the proceeds will be donated to a charity operating out of Equatorial Guinea.