Russia’’s richest man scraps deal to buy worlds most expensive mansion

February 19th, 2009 - 5:45 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 19 (ANI): Hit by recession, Russia’’s richest man Mikhail Prokhorov no longer wants to buy the world’’s most expensive mansion on the French Riviera.
Prokhorovhas, 43, has cancelled his 500 million dollar contract to buy the Villa Leopolda, a Belle Epoque mansion on the heights of Villefrance, near Nice.
The deal made headlines last summer after it became by far the biggest price ever paid for a house.
Prokhorov, who is said to have lost half of his 10 billion pound fortune as a result of the global banking crisis, has decided to pull out as prices have collapsed on ultra-expensive property, built in 1902 for Belgian King Leopold II on the exclusive Cap Ferrat between Monaco and Nice.
He is now seeking the return of his 39 million pound deposit, but has run into resistance from Lily Safra, the heiress who agreed to sell it, according to a French daily newspaper.
Under French property law, any deposit paid up to a maximum of 10 per cent of the sale price does not have to be returned.
Safra is reported to have told Prokhorov’’s estate agents: “The deal was agreed in principle so his deposit is mine.”
Prokhorov is now understood to be considering slashing his offer to buy the villa to 200 million pounds in a bid to claw back his deposit.
However, estate agents, who have been helping super-rich Russians acquire large properties at Cap Ferrat, Cap d”Antibes and Saint-Tropez, say he will have to come up with a better offer.
“Six months ago, (Mr Prokhorov] was ready to blow half a billion euros on the house. Now he’’s quibbling about a measly 40 million pounds, the Scotsman quoted one estate agent, as saying.
“The Villa Leopolda is the most stunning house in France and the most expensive private residence in the world. Property prices on the riviera may have fallen, but not by that much. If he wants it, he”ll need to pay a decent price,” the agent added. (ANI)

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