Many would agree that we do not live in a fair and just world. It does seem like the universe has ways of redeeming itself though. Through a Swiss corruption investigation, the opulent vice president of Equatorial New Guinea, Teodorin Nguema Obiang, had his possessions seized. Just one glance at the objects repossessed shows that this vice president was certainly living the high life prior to his conviction.
Teodorin is the son of the president of Equatorial New Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema. His father has been in power for 40 years now. Throughout his entire life, Teodorin has been living in the lap of luxury, complete with international jet setting and extravagant displays of wealth. His lavish lifestyle has drawn criticism from many though. The territory of Equatorial Guinea is rich with oil, being one of the largest producers of oil in the continent of Africa. This has drawn much wealth to the country, with the highest Gross National Income of any country on the African continent and a 17% GDP growth between 2000 and 2010.
Despite containing such a booming oil industry, the region sees a large amount of poverty. Equatorial Guinea sees some of the largest wealth disparity in the world, with elite members of the country holding a disproportionate amount of wealth and power. Many criticized the vice president’s exorbitant spending habits, attributing his wealth to the larger issue of extreme inequality.
In 2016, the Equatorial Guinea government was subject to a corruption investigation, ultimately accusing Teodorin of money laundering. The Swiss authorities probe seized what was estimated to be $13,000,000 worth of supercars once belonging to the vice president. Included in the seize was were custom-built Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Aston Martins, and a Bugatti Veyron.
On the 27th of September in 2019, 25 of the vice president’s luxury cars were sold at an auction in Switzerland. The lineup included extraordinarily rare models, including the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster, which was originally sold for just over $4,000,000. A 2011 Aston Martin One-77 Coupe also sold for around $1,500,000. The auction raised a total amount of around $27,000,000 US dollars.
While seeing such a clear sign of injustice in the poverty-stricken region is tragic, prosecutors struck a deal where $23,000,000 of the proceeds gathered from the auction will be used to fund social projects providing aid to the less fortunate in Equatorial Guinea. In a country where ¾ of the population is estimated to be living below the poverty line, such needless extravagance can only be described as pure greed.