Russia's Richest Man Wants Deposit Back on Villa Leopolda
Russia's richest man Mikhail Prokhorov is going to court to try and get back the $55 million deposit he forfeited after backing out of a deal to buy the magnificent Villa Leopolda on the French Riviera for $750 million including the furnishings last year. The metals magnate signed a sales agreement for the Villa, and French law stipulates that purchasers lose their deposits if they pull out after such an agreement has been signed. The Villa's owner Lily Safra has said she is donating the deposit to charity. However, Prokhorov's lawyers are now arguing that that the agreement was rendered null and void due to two technical "anomalies", the London Telegraph reports.
Firstly, they say he should have been given the usual seven-day period in which to change his mind, which was denied as Prokhorov signed the agreement under a company name. Secondly, they argue that Safra's notary had "illicitly lumped the furniture price tag with the house price in a declaration to the French state", which they say was grounds for canceling the contract. Safra's lawyer Jean-Michel Darrois disputes Prokhorov's claims and said in a statement to the newspaper, "We have written proof that Mr Prokhorov, via his lawyers, continued to confirm his intention to buy the property well after the sale agreement." A verdict is due in March.