The Real Deal New York

Why the biggest foreclosure auction in city history is on hiatus

Owner of One57 penthouse is accused of buying the unit with illicit oil sale proceeds
July 19, 2017 08:00AM

One57 and Kolawole “Kola” Aluko (Credit: Getty Images)

The biggest foreclosure auction in the city’s history is being put on hold after a new creditor claimed that the owner of the One57 penthouse owes $83.1 million for gasoline and jet fuel.

Debt collector Campion Maverick Inc. filed papers in Florida federal court this month claiming the owner of unit 79 — two shell companies linked to Nigerian businessman Kolawole Akanni Aluko — has an outstanding gasoline and jet fuel bill, Bloomberg reported. The debt collector is seeking to force Aluko’s shell companies into bankruptcy to cover the unpaid bills. The foreclosure auction was slated for today but will now be rescheduled.

Luxembourg-based Banque Havilland is pushing for the sale of the $50.9 million, claiming that Aluko hasn’t been keeping up on payments of a $35.3 million mortgage. The U.S. Justice Department plans to collect the remaining proceeds of the unit’s sale. Aluko is accused of violating U.S. contracts, bribing a government official and selling $1.5 billion worth of Nigerian crude oil. From those sales, Aluko purchased three private jets, 58 cars, luxury real estate in Los Angeles and London, as well as the 6,240-square-foot penthouse at One57.

On Friday, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit in Houston attempting to seize the condo unit as well as Aluko’s yacht, which prosecutors claim were bought as part of a $144 million money laundering scheme. [Bloomberg] — Kathryn Brenzel