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Swiss Millionaire Sells Bel-Air Mansion Tied to Nigerian Corruption Scandal

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Swiss aviation multi-millionaire Thomas Flohr has sold his Bel-Air mansion, linked to an international corruption scandal,  for $22.5 million.

Leading global real-estate publisher, the Real Deal, reports that the sale came after the U.S. Justice Department attempted to seize the property due to its connections to a major Nigerian bribery case.

The lavish estate, located at 755 Sarbonne Road, spans 15,000 square feet and features an olive grove reminiscent of Southern Italy.

Initially listed for $63 million in 2022, the home changed hands for just over a third of its original asking price.

The identity of the buyer remains undisclosed, with the sale handled by brokers Mauricio Umansky, CEO of The Agency, and Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency.

This transaction follows a complex legal battle stemming from the involvement of Kolawole Aluko, a Nigerian businessman accused of bribing an executive from Nigeria’s state-owned oil company to secure lucrative oil contracts.

Aluko (second left) in an undated photo. Source: Kola Aluko/Instagram

These contracts reportedly generated over $100 million in illicit proceeds. Aluko transferred the mansion to Flohr in 2016 to settle a $21.6 million debt related to exclusive access to a Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft, a service provided by Flohr’s private jet company, VistaJet.

In 2021, Flohr agreed to a $16 million settlement to resolve the Justice Department’s forfeiture case.

The U.S. authorities argued that Flohr should have been aware that the property might be subject to forfeiture due to numerous media reports linking Aluko to money laundering activities.

However, Flohr’s legal team contended that he had no reasonable cause to suspect that Aluko acquired the mansion with proceeds from criminal activities.

Thomas Flohr. Source: Flohr/Instagram

Since its listing, the mansion’s asking price saw several reductions, eventually settling at $39.9 million before going under contract on April 30.

Despite the legal and financial hurdles, the sale marks the end of a protracted saga involving high-profile figures and international intrigue.

The sale of this property highlights the far-reaching impacts of global corruption and the efforts of U.S. authorities to seize assets linked to illicit activities, even across international borders.

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