Sahni with his new 5 number plate, left, and the 9 he bought last year - together they cost him R209-million!

Dubai - If ever there was a place synonymous with money and excessive spending, it’s Dubai, and now it seems personalised number plates are the next big ticket status symbols from the land of chrome-plated Bugattis and gold bar-dispensing ATMs.

Balwinder Sahni, an extremely wealthy Indian property tycoon based in Dubai, has reportedly spent $9-million (R120-million) on a vanity plate with the single digit 5.

Sahni bought the plate at a state-run auction for one of his six Rolls Royce fleet cars - another of which already bears the number 9 plate which he bought last year for a reputed $6.7-million (R89-million).

Balwinder describes himself as a simple man.

“It’s hard, people giving comments without knowing the type of person I am,” he said. “I believe in giving back. This city has given me a lot.”

Though Sahni’s purchase is one of the biggest in number plate history, it’s still short of the $14.5-million (R199-million) an Abu Dhabi businessman spent on the single digit 1 in 2008.

Star Motoring