Mar 3, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT
Who is Mikhail Prokhorov? Think of the New Jersey Nets as owned by Goldfinger. Russia’s richest man, who made his $9 billion fortune mainly in nickel and gold production and nanotechnology development, will soon become the NBA’s tallest owner (pending league approval). In September he sunk $200 million into purchasing the Nets and a reported $700 million toward funding a new arena complex in Brooklyn. But one now has to ask: what’s more foolhardy? Buying the Nets, or backing out of a deal to purchase a mansion and losing your $53 million deposit? Seeing that it gave me a headache all day when I missed the deadline for sending in my iPod rebate, I’d pick the latter.
From ABC News:
A French court ruled Monday that nickel tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov would not get back the deposit he put down on a sprawling, $530 million villa on the French Riviera. He backed out of the purchase in 2008 as the global financial crisis gathered steam.
“We have lost,” Prokhorov’s lawyer Jean-Pierre Gastaud said after the court in the southern city of Nice made its decision. Gastaud said he would urge his client to appeal.
A few details on the humble abode:
The mansion at the center of the lawsuit is a spectacular 20-acre spread between Nice and Monaco looking out over the Mediterranean. Fifty gardeners are reportedly needed to tend to the property’s manicured gardens and hundreds of lemon, cypress and olive trees.
Its price tag reportedly broke the record for the most expensive ever, appropriate for a manse named Villa Leopolda after the man who built it, King Leopold II of Belgium.
More from the Prokhorov File: He’s been called Russia’s most eligible bachelor; is fond of traveling the world in his private jet with beautiful women in tow; jet-ski backflips!; and was once arrested in an investigation of a high-end prostitution ring (he was eventually released and not charged).
Hmm … I wonder what the deposit was on the Nets?
UPDATE: From The London Times:
The deposit is to remain in the hands of the owner, Lily Safra, 71, the widow of Edmond Safra, the banker billionaire who was murdered by his male nurse in Monaco in 1999. The court also awarded Mrs Safra 1.5 million euros in damages. She had been forced to lay off the 27 guards, gardeners, servants and cooks at the villa. They have since been re-engaged.
Mrs Safra said that she would donate the money to ten charities, including neuroscience research at King’s College London and Imperial College London. “By transforming the deposit into an act of giving I would like to encourage all who can do so to support medical research, patient care, education and other humanitarian causes,” she said.
Russian Playboy Mikhail Prokhorov Loses $53M Mansion Deposit [ABC News]
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