- A $227 million mansion for sale in London is owned by Evergrande founder Hui Ka Yan, the FT reported.
- The home was originally thought to be owned by Chinese billionaire Cheung Chung-kiu.
- Hui saw his net worth plummet as he fire-sold assets when Evergrande defaulted on $300 billion debt.
A $227 million mansion in London which has been put up for sale just two years after it was last sold is owned by the founder of the floundering Chinese real estate empire Evergrande, the Financial Times reported.
The 45-room “private palace” overlooking Hyde Park has gone on the market again after it was reported to have been sold to Chinese billionaire Cheung Chung-kiu for more than £205 million (around $227 million) in 2020.
But the FT has cited five people familiar with the matter who said the 2-8a Rutland Gate property is actually owned by Evergrande founder, and one of China’s richest men, Hui Ka Yan.
Hui and Cheung are close business partners, the paper reported, with Cheung CC Land selling projects to Evergrande in China.
The FT cited Land Registry documents showing a British Virgin Islands company called Vision Perfect Global Ltd bought the property from Curaçao-registered Yunak Property Corp in 2020.
Ding Yumei, Hui’s wife, was recorded as holding 75% or more of a related company where two CC Land executives were named as directors, the paper added.
Hui has seen his net worth shrink by 83% since July 2020, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires’ Index, as shares in Evergrande disintegrated amid a $300 billion loan default at the company.
The tycoon, who is worth $6 billion, has been forced to sell off shares in the company as well as his own possessions, including art and calligraphy, to pay company debts when the Chinese government declined to bail Evergrande out.
The FT’s investigation suggests the London home, which was purchased in January 2020 when Hui’s net worth was around $31 billion, is the latest asset to be auctioned off by the embattled billionaire.
Sources told the Guardian that “Middle Eastern royal families and super-rich American investors” were among seven prospective buyers who had toured the seven-storey mansion since it quietly went on the market a couple of weeks ago.
The home was originally built as four grand family homes in the 1830s before being converted into one huge residence in the 1980s.
Last year, the City of Westminster Borough Council awarded permission for Cheung to build an eight-storey, 62,000-square-foot private palace on the residence, which could be worth up to £500 million (around $554 million) upon completion.