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Two Ferraris given to former Spanish King Juan Carlos from the United Arab Emirates in 2011, presented to the press before being auctioned, in Madrid October 19, 2015. — Reuters picTwo Ferraris given to former Spanish King Juan Carlos from the United Arab Emirates in 2011, presented to the press before being auctioned, in Madrid October 19, 2015. — Reuters picMADRID, July 13 — The first time they went up for auction, there were no buyers. But today, two Ferraris gifted to Spain’s former king Juan Carlos by an Arab sheikh finally went for nearly €444,000 (RM2.16 million), the government said.

A symbol of corruption in Spain’s scandal-hit monarchy, the black and silver-plated cars were ceded to the state by King Felipe VI when he took over in 2014 after his father’s abdication and pledged to clean up the royals’ image.

The crown’s popularity had been severely damaged by Juan Carlos’ lavish lifestyle at a time of devastating economic crisis in Spain, as well as Princess Cristina’s alleged involvement in a corruption scandal targeting her husband, for which she has since been acquitted.

The sports cars were given to Juan Carlos by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, after the former king visited his country in 2011, but he never drove them.

They first went under the hammer in November 2015 for an asking price of €350,000 and €345,000 (US$400,000 and US$394,000), but there were no buyers.

In today’s auction in Madrid, however, they went for €201,555 and €242,287, one of them to a car dealership and the other to a private buyer, the finance ministry announced in a statement.

Felipe has ordered members of the royal family not to accept any extravagant gifts. Any official presents they receive must now be donated to national heritage. — AFP

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