Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Now comes word that the anonymous Russian billionaire who bought the exquisite Villa Leopolda historic estate on the French Cote d’Azur paid a higher price than previously reported. This purchase overtakes the previous highest purchase of a London home by Laksmi Mittal for his son for $236,000,000. (WOW these are all a lot of zeros!). Villa Leopolda is between Monaco and Nice, overlooking Cap Ferrat near Villefranche-su-Mer. It is a cream-colored turreted mansion with two guest houses. King Leopold II of Belgium built the villa in 1902. In 1916, King Leopold’s nephew and heir, King Albert I, turned the villa into a hospital for wounded officers during WW1. The Agnelli family later owned the property (Fiat auto tycoons) and held legendary jet-set parties in the 1960’s, with guests including Frank Sinatra and Ronald Regan (in his acting days). Fifty full-time gardeners are employed to take care of 20 acres of gardens and terraces, with 1200 olive, orange, lemon and cypress trees. The grounds are considered among the most spectacular on the Cote d’Azur. Seller was Lily Safra, widow of murdered banking billionaire, Edmond Safra. A Russian oil oligarch is said to be the new owner. But not Roman, Abramovich, owner of the Chelsea Football Club, who owns a $100,000,000 mansion near Antibes. It is reported that 60 villas and mansions on Cap Ferrat are owned by wealthy Russians.

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