Asset Recovery Watch

ARW-253
Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue (11 luxury cars seized in Geneva)
Equatorial Guinea
Vice President of Equatorial Guinea (2012-2018) and son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (1979 - current)
Switzerland
(1) Jurisdiction initiated legal action to recover assets (2) Jurisdiction of Asset Location
2016
Ongoing
Art.16, Art.17, Art.19, Art.23
Yes
Actions Initiated by Foreign Jurisdictions
NA
N/A - The related criminal investigation was initiated by the Swiss Public Prosecutor.
Ongoing Case
Ongoing
"more than $8 million" (estimate)

In November 2016, Swiss authorities seized 11 luxury cars as part of criminal proceedings opened against Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the son of Equatorial Guinea’s longtime leader, on suspicions of money laundering. The prosecutor’s office said in an e-mailed statement to Reuters: “The Geneva public prosecutor confirms the opening of criminal proceedings against Teodorin Obiang. The latter is accused of money laundering.” “As part of the procedure, 11 vehicles were effectively sequestered in the cargo area of ​​Geneva airport on behalf of the prosecution."

The cars seized by the Geneva police were a Bugatti Veyron, four Ferraris including an Enzo and 599GTB, a Porsche 918 Spyder, a Lamborghini Veneno, a Maybach, a Koenigesegg, an Aston Martin and a McLaren P1, the Geneva prosecutor’s office said. According to media reports, the Bugatti Veyron is worth $2 million and the Swedish-made Koenigegg One is one of only seven ever produced for $2.8 million. The total value of the 11 cars has not been reported - but the value of only two of the 11 cars (Bugatti Veyron & Koenigegg One) totals $4.8 million. Media reports estimate the total value to be "more than $8 million".

Equatorial Guinea filed a legal challenge to the seizure, arguing that the cars do not belong to Obiang but to a state company and were only in Geneva for repairs. In July 2017, the Swiss Federal Court rejected the request from the government of Equatorial Guinea to release the luxury cars. 

Public Prosecutor's Office in Geneva, Switzerland
Public Prosecutor's Office in Geneva, Switzerland
Swiss Federal Court, Switzerland