Corrupt politician’s seized supercars worth nearly R200m
The 25 cars include rarities such as the Aston Martin One-77, Bugatti Veyron and LaFerrari
A collection of supercars worth nearly R200m, seized from a corrupt Equatorial Guinea politician, is going up for auction.
The 25 cars include rarities such as the Aston Martin One-77, Bugatti Veyron, Ferrari LaFerrari, Koenigsegg One: 1, Lamborghini Veneno Roadster and McLaren P1.
The collection also includes Maseratis, Mercedes-Maybachs and Porsches, with models ranging from hyper cars to luxury convertibles and limousines.
The collection formerly belonged to Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the vice-president of Equatorial Guinea and son of President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
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The cars were confiscated by Swiss authorities in 2016 after Mangue allegedly paid for them using state funds. The playboy politician has been the subject of numerous corruption investigations into his lavish lifestyle, including cars and properties he bought in SA.
In 2005 he reportedly went on a R10m spending spree over a single weekend in SA, where he splashed out on properties, entertainment and cars that included a Bentley Arnage, a Bentley Continental R and a Lamborghini Murcielago.
Mangue has had several properties and cars confiscated over the years, and in 2017 was sentenced to three years in jail (suspended) in France after he allegedly embezzled $175m from his country to buy luxury cars, real estate and other assets.
A previously seized collection of cars owned by Mangue — including a Ferrari Enzo, Porsche Carrera GT and two Bugatti Veyrons — was auctioned in 2013.
The latest 25 cars will go under the hammer at a Bonhams auction on September 29 at the Bonmont Golf & Country Club near Geneva. The cars are being sold on behalf of the Swiss government, with the proceeds to be donated to social programmes in Equatorial Guinea, an oil-rich but largely poverty-stricken former Spanish colony of about 1.2-million people.
Most of the cars have less than 1,000km on their odometers. The Veneno Roadster, a super-rare Lamborghini of which only nine were built, has the lowest with just 320km on the clock. Bonhams says the collection is estimated to realise in excess of €12m (R195.6m).
Black style packages for VW Touareg and Tiguan
Black styling packages for cars are becoming all the rage, and Volkswagen SA has taken up the trend with darkened versions of its Touareg and Tiguan.
On the top-of-the-range Touareg SUV, the Black Style Package features blackened out chrome elements, bumper in “R” style, body-coloured bumper and lower door parts, black air intake with fins, black roof rails, black decorative trim on the side windows, black exterior mirror housings, black radiator grille and black 21-inch Suzuka alloy wheels.
The optional Touareg Black Style Package, which is only available on the Executive model, retails for R39,900.
On the smaller Tiguan SUV, the Black Style Package comes with bumper in “R” style, body-coloured bumper and lower door parts, black air intakes with fins on the radiator grille, black decorative trim on the side windows, black exterior mirror housings, privacy glass for rear and side windows, black roof rails, black headliner and sport suspension.
The Black Style Package on the Tiguan can only be ordered with the R-Line package. It is exclusively available in Comfortline and Highline trims. The Comfortline trim is offered with black 19-inch Sebring alloy wheels and the Highline is offered with black 20-inch Suzuka alloy wheels.
The optional Tiguan Black Style Package retails for R25,200.
Flagship Audi SQ8 TDI unveiled
Shortly after the Q8 coupe-SUV went on sale in SA, Audi has launched the high-performance SQ8 TDI overseas.
Due to go on sale locally in the first quarter of 2020, the range-topping Q8 is powered by a 4.0l twin turbo diesel V8 with outputs of 320kW and an astonishing 900Nm of torque. These huge outputs are sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, for a claimed 0-100km/h sprint in 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 250km/h.
As is typical for an Audi S model, sports seats decorated with an S embossing and contrasting stitching will bolster the Audi SQ8’s sporty presence.
The exterior styling is spiced up with S-specific parts such as the quad-exhaust tips, redesigned air inlets, and optional 22-inch wheels.
Power is fed through a 48V lithium-ion battery pack, which also powers the electric-powered compressor that assists the turbochargers at low revs and low-speed acceleration.
Stopping is taken care of by standard carbon-fibre ceramic disc brakes with red callipers.
Karma bites back at Nissan boss
The man believed to be behind the misuse of funds charges against former Renault-Nissan alliance boss Carlos Ghosn is himself under investigation for the misuse of Nissan funds.
Nissan’s board quizzed its CEO, Hiroto Saikawa, this week after a whistle-blower alleged he used company funds to pay for his house in Tokyo.
The extraordinary meeting was called after former Nissan senior executive Greg Kelly alleged Saikawa ordered an illegal change to timing restrictions on executives selling compensation-linked stock in 2013.
It has been alleged that Saikawa earned a huge payment from the scheme, which enabled him to pay for his house.
He was also questioned about whether he requested Nissan to pay for the house on the promise that he would repay the full amount.
Kelly, arrested along with Ghosn in November for misuse of Nissan funds, made the allegation earlier in June in a Japanese business magazine.
Saikawa has maintained that he bought the house with his own money, while Nissan representatives have refused to comment.
A former protégé of Ghosn, Saikawa has overseen a marked deterioration in Nissan’s relationship with its 43% shareholder, Renault, with Ghosn himself accusing Saikawa of co-opting Japanese prosecutors into arresting him to shatter a proposed full merger of the two carmakers.
Reports also circulated this week that it was Nissan, rather than the French government, that kiboshed a proposed Renault-FCA merger earlier in June.
Waymo roped in by third-largest automotive group
Stand-alone self-driving technology development company and Google subsidiary Waymo has entered into a partnership with Groupe Renault and Nissan to use the expertise of this self-driving technology company.
Waymo has notched up more than 16-million driverless kilometres on public roads to explore all aspects of driverless mobility services for passengers and deliveries in France and Japan where the group is strongly represented.
The agreement is designed to bring together the strengths of each party and expand expertise by assessing market opportunities, working together to research commercial, legal and regulatory issues related to driverless transportation-as-a-service offerings in Europe and Asia, and Japan specifically.
John Krafcik, CEO of Waymo, said: “This is an ideal opportunity for Waymo to bring our autonomous technology to a global stage, with an innovative partner. With the alliance’s international reach and scale, our Waymo driver can deliver transformational mobility solutions to safely serve riders and commercial deliveries in France, Japan and other countries.”