“I don’t have a problem with people digging a big hole in the ground and living in it,” he said. Guryev also sails on a super-yacht, named the Alfa Nero, whose retail price is more than a hundred million dollars; the yacht is not declared, either. London properties account for two-thirds of that amount. At the time, Witanhurst was so dilapidated that it was the subject of several official complaints from the local council—a significant deterrent to an international buyer. Their neighbors may never know they are home. The Crosfields knocked down much of Parkfield and started afresh with a new house and a new name, Witanhurst, which, in Old English, means “Parliament on the Hill.” Arthur commissioned the Scottish architect George Hubbard to design a gigantic new building, and the landscape architect Harold Peto to create a raked Italianate garden. Like Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea football club, he shrewdly worked the system to acquire his wealth after the downfall of communism. Certainly having this property maintained and restored is far better than having it collapse into rubble but we can’t help but wonder why a single family, no matter how large, can’t make due to due in the existing (and already colossal) 40,000 square foot mega-mansion. We haven’t any idea how the current owner plans to make use of the gate house but it would certainly be perfect for housing a small army of eagle-eyed sniper-trained security personnel. With the proceeds, he bought Parkfield, an elegant eighteenth-century house in Highgate. In fact, Russian plutocrats own many homes in the area. Sir Patrick remembers her as “a delightful old girl—mad about owls and tennis.” She sometimes let the Sergeants play on her courts. Sir Patrick, who is ninety-one, is a former financial journalist and publisher. According to records filed with the Russian government, Guryev has never registered a foreign property. Times Newspapers apologised for the story and paid damages to Baturina in October 2011.

The current house, built between 1913 and 1920, was designed by architect George Hubbard for soap magnate Sir Arthur Crosfield on an 11-acre (4.5 ha) site. Many foreign billionaires, he said, like the fact that London is an English-speaking capital midway between Asia and New York. In May, 2008, I toured Witanhurst with a real-estate agent. For decades, parties at Witanhurst attracted potentates and royals—including, in 1951, Elizabeth, the future Queen. . Meanwhile, parcels of the grounds were sold off. Charles Moore, a former editor of the Telegraph, says that London’s property market has become “a form of legalized international money laundering.” For Highgate residents, however, worries about the lack of transparency in the purchase of Witanhurst have come second to a more English concern. In court, Somar al-Assad—a cousin of Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria—revealed that he hadn’t spent the night there in eight years. Who owns the biggest house in the United States? It seems rom-com queen Jennifer Aniston will also soon benefit from the super-rich’s increasingly white hot desire for shockingly expensive homes. In 2008, Guryev was still a Russian legislator, and it appears that by law he should have listed his foreign properties in an official registry. Guryev had been elected to the Russian senate in 2001; as a legislator, he had a level of immunity from the criminal charges faced by Khodorkovsky. The house’s owners have built a vast basement that amounts to an underground village. 10 of the World’s Most Insanely Luxurious Houses. [2], Witanhurst was bought by the family of the Russian billionaire Andrey Guryev through an offshore company called Safran Holdings, located in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands for £50 million in 2008.

Prices then rise in Islington, and people who might have bought property there must look yet farther out. It wasn’t long, we understand from our plugged-in sources inside the Bev Hills real estate game, before Miz Aniston was entertaining a couple of offers for her newly renovated and expanded residence that she dubbed Ohana, the Polynesian word for extended family. But listings for properties owned by offshore companies do not disclose individual beneficiaries. Eight more bedrooms share 2 bathrooms on the third floor, probably originally designed to house live-in domestics. The production company Endemol withdrew their application to use Witanhurst for a planned third series of the show in 2004 following a critical report by planners from Camden London Borough Council. Out in the Hamptons hedge hog David Tepper recently paid $43,500,000 for a 6,135 square foot ocean front mansion only to tear it down to the ground to make way for an even bigger and better 18,000-ish square foot beach house more suitable to his needs and visions of real estate grandeur. Why China’s super-rich send their children abroad. Filed Under: Uncategorised Tagged With: HIGHGATE, LONDON WALKS, WITANHURST, Your email address will not be published. In 1929, he was knighted. Still others have told Your Mama it’s neither Russkie but rather a New York-based financier. According to former PhosAgro employees, in 2012 he married a Russian woman named Julia Gurieva.

Mama bear has her paws full with five cubs at Biltmore Estate. The owner of Witanhurst was not publicly known from its 2008 sale until the publication of a 2015 article by Ed Caesar in The New Yorker magazine. At its peak the young Princess Elizabeth went there to parties together with London high society but the family were unable to maintain the house and it fell into disrepair leading to complaints from locals about its condition. Nearly sixty years after the site was sold to the Crosfields, Lady Phyllis Greig, who had grown up at Parkfield, told an interviewer that she was horrified by Witanhurst.

Floor plans also show a comparatively intimately-scaled library, study, billiard room and estate office with separate entrance and private bath on the ground floor.By Your Mama’s count, according to the 2008 floor plan (above), the pre-renovation Witanhurst House contained six principal bedrooms–two on the mezzanine and four on the second floor–each with en suite pooper. The New Yorker may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The interiors were ravaged: water had leaked through holes in the roof, and, upstairs, the brittle floorboards cracked under our footsteps. Versailles is an 85,000 square-foot house belonging to Westgate Resorts founder David Siegel and his wife Jackie Siegel. Alexson’s agency received a commission, but the secrecy of the deal puzzled him. In 2006, the Qatari royal family bought Dudley House, on Park Lane, for about forty million pounds; after a renovation, its estimated resale value is two hundred and fifty million pounds. (She competed at Wimbledon and once won the Swiss ladies’ title.) One of the largest is the ballroom, measuring 70 feet (21 m) long with a height of 20 feet (6.1 m). The house has had several prominent owners since being rebuilt by the soap magnate Sir Arthur Crosfield, and after several decades of increasing dilapidation it underwent substantial refurbishment after its 2008 sale to an offshore company owned by the family of the Russian businessman Andrey Guryev. If the family really wanted to live undetected in London, they could have bought a five-bedroom terrace house in Richmond. Either Guryev’s son or his daughter could live there with their families.

Your Mama’s knees turn to quivering pools of jelly just thinking of the number and cost of full-time staff required to maintain a private residence of this exceptional (and, let’s be honest, ludicrous) magnitude. “It’s like Versailles. On a recent trip to Moscow, I met Guryev’s former business associate Sergey Fedorov. In 2011, PhosAgro completed the construction of a fishing lodge in Murmansk, which has since been used by senior government figures, including Dmitri Medvedev. The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is ambivalent about the rise in foreign-owned property. Menatep grew out of Komsomol, the Communist Youth League of the Soviet Union, of which both Khodorkovsky and Guryev were influential members. Other richly decorated rooms include the Dining Room, Chinese Room, Billiard Room, and the Gallery hallway. Comment document.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "aa2252164eb9eb12165c4771d06ea9f2" );document.getElementById("h72a521df5").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. He had no idea who the buyer was, and Glentree Estates had not shown anyone the house. Fedorov became so close to Guryev that they used to go on vacation together. The expansion, most of which will involve the installation of a shopping-mall sized subterranean complex, will just about double the size of the house and will reportedly cost the owner somewhere in the neighborhood of £50,000,000. There had been no parties there for half a century, and the house had not been occupied regularly since the seventies. It will likely become the most expensive house in London. Guryev, accompanied by his wife and his son, first inspected the triplex. Coincidentally or not, Flagstaff Investments is registered at the same address where Witanhurst’s owner, Safran Holdings, is listed: Box 438, Road Town, Tortola. Already, in the most elite of circles, it is being whispered in awe: 'Witanhurst. A representative for Guryev said that in 2004 “the company was not a valuable enterprise, as there were numerous complaints being made against Apatit.” (Khodorkovsky, who has since become one of Putin’s most prominent critics, and now lives in exile in Switzerland, declined to comment for this story.). Variety and the Flying V logos are trademarks of Variety Media, LLC. Required fields are marked *.

Can you walk the Biltmore grounds for free? And owners of houses that are registered offshore and worth more than twenty million pounds must pay an annual charge of two hundred and eighteen thousand pounds. The charges against them were ostensibly connected to Menatep’s acquisition of shares in Apatit but were widely interpreted as punishment: Khodorkovsky had clashed with Putin, publicly accusing one of the Prime Minister’s friends of corruption. However two of Your Mama’s sources suggest the buyer might actually be Indian gajillionaire Mukesh Ambani whose primary residence in Mumbai, India is a 27-floor tower designed and built for the exclusive use of his small family at a rumored cost of more than a billion dollars. Most Expensive House: Antilia. [3], In 2007 the Assads sold Witanhurst to the British property developer Marcus Cooper for £32.5 million. Charlie Cheever of quora.com writes, “Technically, realtors term mansions as houses that have at least 8,000 square feet of floor space.” Merriam-Webster’s definition is less definitive, simply stating that a mansion is “a large and impressive house: the large house of a wealthy person.”.