While Equitorial Guinea is one of the wealthiest countries in Africa, only half of the people have access to clean, safe drinking water. One fifth of children born in the country die before they are five years old. Two years ago the French government raided the €80 million, 101-room mansion near the Champs Elysees belonging to Teodorin Obiang, the son of the president of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, in power since 1979. Among the treasures found in the mansion were a cache of supercars, which have now been sold off.
The raid was part of a “bien mals aquis” investigation into ill-gotten gains. According to French authorities, those ill-gotten gains were funds belonging to the African country looted by the Obiang family. Though Obiang is claiming diplomatic immunity due to having been named Second Vice President of Equatorial Guinea, a recent ruling in French courts said that such immunity did not protect property bought with stolen public money. As a result of that ruling, French authorities have gone through with the seizure of vintage wines, antique furniture, fine art including a Degas and a Renoir, and jewelry from the mansion as well as Teodorin Obiang’s impressive collection of low mileage high dollar cars. Those cars have now been sold off by the Drouot auction house in Paris, fetching over $4 million (€3.1 million, £2.7 million), and included two Bugattis, two Bentleys, a Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari, a Porsche, a Maserati and a Maybach.
Court documents show that 4 years ago, Obiang imported 26 high end luxury cars worth $12 million to France from the United States. The fleet was comprised of one each from Aston Martin, Porsche, Lamborghini and Maserati, plus two Bugattis, four Mercedes-Benzes, four Rolls-Royces, five Bentleys, and seven Ferraris. Despite the fact that the roads in Equatorial Guinea are generally not paved and require serious 4X4 vehicles, many of those cars were shipped to Africa for his use there. The cars that were auctioned were the ones left in his Paris pied a terre.