A Dubai-based property developer has reportedly spent a record $9 million on a highly sought-after license plate bearing the number five at a government auction.
The number plate “D5” now adorns one of Balwinder Sahni’s six Rolls-Royce cars. According to CNN Money, Sahni previously paid almost $7 million for a number “9” plate just last year at a similar auction. The property developer also has two additional Rolls-Royces on order, which will bring his collection of the luxury cars to eight.
“It’s hard, people giving comments without knowing the type of person I am”, Sahni told CNNMoney, describing himself as a “simple man”.
Sahni considers the money he spends collecting license plates a form of charity and public service: “I believe in giving back,” he said. “This city has given me a lot.” He says he believes the money will go to charity and toward improving the city’s infrastructure.
While Dubai has no income tax, the money spent on the elite license plates goes directly to Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority.
Lone digit plates are now popular in the United Arab Emirates, where owners spend lavish amounts. Abdulkerim Arsanov and his brother set up the website numbers.ae, to link sellers with buyers. As of today, the biggest deal via their website was for a two-digit plate that sold for $735,000.
“Number plates have become more luxurious than the cars themselves,” Arsanov told CNN Money.
The record for the most money spent on a license plate in the United Arab Emirates goes to businessman Saeed al-Khouri. In 2008, al-Khouri spent $14.2 million on the No. 1 license plate.