In a public display of his immense wealth, Dubai resident Balwinder Sahni paid 33 million dirhams (approximately $12.1 million CAD) for a sought-after licence plate at a government auction the first week of November.
As reported by CNN Money, affixing a single-digit licence plate to your vehicle in the United Arab Emirates indicates you are counted among the wealthiest citizens in the country.
After handing over the small fortune for his winning bid, Sahni, a Dubai-based property developer, had his conspicuous number plates installed on his equally eye-grabbing pearl white Rolls-Royce Phantom luxury automobile.
Sahni has a penchant for Rolls-Royce cars—he currently owns six, with two more on order. Another of his Phantoms wears the number ‘9’ licence plate, which he purchased for $9 million last year.
While $12.1 million is a grand sum to pay for a custom licence plate, it’s eclipsed by the record-setting $18.5-million purchase of a single-digit plate by an Abu Dhabi businessman in 2008.
Sahni laments that upon noticing his plates, some locals have stopped to berate him, saying he has wasted his money, which could have been used to help others.
“It’s hard, people giving comments without knowing the type of person I am,” Sahni said in an interview with CNN Money, going on to describe himself as “a simple man.”
He argues that his purchase is a form of charity, since the Dubai government can use his funds for good—though when queried by CNN, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority declined to comment on how the proceeds from license plate auctions are spent.