Monday, April 15, 2013

 

Russia:Skorpios island sold to Russian Dmitry Rybolovlev tycoon's daughter

Skorpios, the Greek resort island where Jacqueline Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis five years after her husband was assassinated, was sold to the 24-year-old daughter of a Russian billionaire.

MOSCOW/ATHENS — The daughter of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev has bought the Greek resort island where shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis famously married Jacqueline Kennedy in the 1960s, Rybolovlev's investment office said.

The sale price was not disclosed.

Greek media reports Saturday placed the value of Skorpios island at more than $100 million and said Ekaterina Rybolovleva, 24, wanted it not only for leisure but also business purposes.

She purchased Skorpios, in the Ionian Sea off western Greece, from Onassis' 28-year-old granddaughter, Athena Onassis Roussel, the only surviving descendant of the shipping magnate.

"Ekaterina is delighted that the trust has negotiated this purchase," a representative of Rybolovlev's family investment office said on condition of anonymity.

"She regards the acquisition as a long-term financial investment."

She also acquired the small neighboring island Sparti.

Dmitry Rybolovlev, owner of the AS Monaco Football Club and co-founder of the Russian potash producer Uralkali, has a history of snapping up trophy properties.

Aristotle Onassis purchased Skorpios in 1963 and turned the barren island into a luxury resort by planting thousands of trees and importing sand. In 1968 he married Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of the assassinated U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

After Aristotle Onassis's death in 1975, Skorpios passed to his daughter Christina, who died of a heart attack at 37 in the late 1980s after a history of drug abuse, weight issues and four failed marriages.

Onassis, his son Alexander, who was killed in an airplane crash aged 25, and Christina were buried on Skorpios. Athena Onassis Roussel was 3 when her mother died.

The mayor of the nearby island of Meganisi, Efstathios Zavitsanos, who is administratively responsible for Skorpios, said the deal was likely to be a long-term lease since, according to some lawyers, Aristotle Onassis's will stated that Skorpios could not be sold or leave the family.

"We have lived with the Onassis legend and it will never fade," he said. "You see, Aristotle was close to the local society, the fishermen and the residents. He was not just a rich man, he was truly loved."

There have been unconfirmed reports in Greek media that billionaire Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and pop star Madonna had earlier sought unsuccessfully to acquire Skorpios.
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