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France Seizes Villa Once Owned by Greek Tycoons Onassis and Niarchos

France villa Onassis Niarchos
The Château de la Croë is estimated to be worth around $117 million. Public Domain

France has seized a villa in one of the most prestigious parts of the French Riviera that once belonged to Greek tycoons Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos.

The Château de la Croë at the Cap d’Antibes is estimated to be worth around $117 million.

The latest owner was Roman Abramovich who is sanctioned as part of a crackdown on Russian oligarchs amid the invasion of Ukraine.

Constructed in 1926, the elegant villa comes complete with over a dozen bedrooms, eight bathrooms and is set on 12 acres of lush woodland and lavish lawns just meters from the Mediterranean Sea.

Abramovich spent some £30million (approximately $40 million) restoring the Château after he bought it in 2001, building a 15-meter swimming pool on the roof and inserting a huge gym and home cinema in the basement to create the ultimate billionaire’s play pad.

Niarchos buys villa from rival Onassis

Before one of Putin’s favorite money-men moved in, the incredible property was used as a holiday home for the two Greek tycoons.

Shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis owned the villa from 1950 to 1957. The house was then acquired by Onassis’s business rival, Stavros Niarchos, who bought it for his wife, Eugenia Livanos.

According to Onassis’ biographer Peter Evans, Onassis was jealous of Niarchos because of his elegance, his aristocratic air, and his seemingly effortless cosmopolitan finesse. Even in the most expensive suit, Onassis looked like a poor man trying to impress, Evans wrote. At the same time, Niarchos epitomized the chic aura of the ultrawealthy.

Before the two Greek tycoons, the incredible property was used as a holiday home by the former King of England Edward VIII and American socialite Wallis Simpson—better known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor became owners of the Château de la Croë in 1938 after King Edward VIII abdicated the throne.

The villa became one of the couple’s favorite retreats and was also used on several occasions to host highly esteemed guests.

Winston Churchill, the famous Prime Minister who successfully led Britain to victory through the Second World War, celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary with the Duke and Duchess in the villa in 1948 before the Château was sold two years later.

Germany seizes Russian oligarch’s superyacht

On Wednesday, Germany seized the world’s largest superyacht after “extensive investigations” determined that it is owned by the sister of the sanctioned Russian oligarch, Alisher Usmanov.

The 156-meter (512 foot) yacht had been undergoing refitting in Hamburg. The vessel is flagged in the Cayman Islands and registered to a holding company in Malta—both tax havens favored by the global ultra-rich to park their wealth.

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