Not long after we learned of the Bonhams auction that would sell off the seized cars from an African dictator’s son for the benefit of Equatorial Guinea, Koenigsegg weighed in. Nobody asked it to, but it did anyway. You see, there is a Koenigsegg One:1 that’s part of that auction and Koenigsegg is Extremely Mad Online over how Bonhams has priced it.
The One:1 in question is part of the collection that was seized by Geneva police in 2016 from the Vice President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, who is the son of African dictator Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasog. The Geneva prosecutor’s office ordered that the cars be “sold and the net proceeds of their sale will be allocated to a social program in the territory of Equatorial Guinea.” Hence, the Bonhams auction being offered by the State of Geneva.
The One:1’s listing says that it will be sold without reserve and is expected to fetch between $1.8 million to $2.3 million. This is the bit Koenigsegg didn’t like.
In a fiery company blog post from Friday, the automaker queried, “Bonhams—should you trust their appraisals?” It asserts that the estimate Bonhams listed is “way under market value,” “totally unfounded” and, despite Koenigsegg allegedly reaching out to let the auction house know exactly how valuable its car should be, the price has not been updated. From the post:
In effort to provide Bonhams all the opportunities to do the right thing, we sent them a draft of this text in advance so they can correct their estimate. They did revise their estimate slightly to a figure that is still not even close to proven market value and substantially lower than our firm offers.
Given the above, we were unfortunately forced to share our findings and have to conclude that you cannot trust “appraisals” coming from Bonhams.
It went on to say:
We at Koenigsegg are not willing to stand by on the sidelines and observe this wrongful and harming behavior without reacting... In our view this further shows a total lack of interest in providing transparency to the market and is unfair to the seller and the car.
This is not about the auction itself. Given the above, we are confident the car will catch a good value there. We know there are buyers, including ourselves, who will seek to put their hands on this car.
The question is, why should bidders, who trust Bonhams’s judgement, not be given a fair chance to jump on the opportunity, instead of stopping their bids short, based on information Bonhams knows is incorrect?
The One:1, of which there are only six in the world, are supposed to be extremely expensive when new. Car and Driver reported it to cost $2.8 million in 2015. The Drive reported one that was for sale for $5 million in 2016. And DriveTribe found one for €6.5 million ($7.3 million) last year. It really seems like if you want a bargain on one of these things, get yourself over to Geneva at the end of September.
Koenigsegg won’t see a dime of the Bonhams transaction because, as it was mentioned above, the money is going to benefit Equatorial Guinea. No, it’s mad because this means that someone could potentially get the One:1 for a relatively great deal. That, apparently, cannot stand, despite the fact the car was almost certainly purchased with laundered money and other crimes.
We’ve reached out to Bonhams for comment on the matter and will update if we hear back.