The recent recession spared no one. It claimed victims from all social classes, be it the average middle-class man or the affluent billionaires. One such billionaire is Mikhail Prokhorov, who, FYI, is the world’s 24th richest man! The recession not only cost this billionaire a lavish property but also £37 million ($55.6million)! The story goes. Thus, the Russian billionaire apparently made the down payment of £36 million ($54million) to purchase the world’s most expensive house on the French Riviera. After making this 10 percent down payment for the lavish £360 million ($54million) Villa Leopolda in 2008, the billionaire had to back out of the deal due to the credit crunch. And as luck would have it, the French property law states that once an initial sale contract has been signed, a deposit can only be refunded during a seven-day ‘cooling-off’ period. So, at a court ruling in Nice recently, the billionaire had to accept defeat as the court ruled that the villa’s owner, 71-year-old Lily Safra, could keep the 36 million pounds ($54million). Moreover, Mr. Prokhorov has also been asked to pay Mrs. Safra an additional £1 million ($1.5million) in interest!
Mrs. Safra, the wife of late billionaire banker Edmund Safra, said she would donate the money to ten charities, including almost £1 million ($1.5million) for neuroscience research at King’s College London and Imperial College London.