PARIS, FRANCE —
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 euros ($3.6 million) at an auction in Paris on Monday.
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 he embezzled public funds to buy real estate in Paris. He denies wrongdoing and says he earned the money in 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 with leather interiors and spotless paint work appeared infrequently used, with very little mileage, providing a glimpse into 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 told Reuters.
($1 = 0.7792 euros)