British tycoon buys DOJ-seized Beverly Hills spec manse for $33M

Richard Caring's recently purchased Beverly Hills mansion (MLS/Getty Images)
Richard Caring's recently purchased Beverly Hills mansion (MLS/Getty Images)

British restaurant tycoon Richard Caring, who owns a 30 percent stake in Soho House, crossed the pond to purchase a Beverly Hills spec mansion shrouded in controversy.

The 11,200-square-foot contemporary home on Laurel Way was purchased for $33 million last month, Yolanda’s Little Black Book reported. Its asking price was $38 million.

The three-story property — with six bedrooms and 10 bathrooms — has a glass-walled five-car garage, an 11-seat screening room and a temperature controlled 1,000-bottle wine cellar visible from an upper glass floor. It also has a conflict-ridden past that dates back to its developer, Richard Papalian.

When planning the spec home, Papalian faced the task of demolishing the current structure. Instead of applying for a demolition permit, however, he applied for and received a renovation permit, which allowed him to demolish up to 50 percent of the current structure. He then proceeded to demolish 90 percent of the property and build it 23 feet high instead of the allowed 14 feet.

Neighbors sued, but their efforts did not stop Papalian from selling the home to Emirati businessman and party boy Khadem Al Qubaisi for $31 million in 2014. Al Qubaisi quickly remodeled the home, but didn’t keep it for long. He tried flipping the property in 2015, listing it for $42 million with Mauricio Umansky & Farrah Aldjufrie of the Agency.

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The house hit the market right after news of Al Qubaisi’s shady business dealings began to surface.

Al Quabaisi, now serving time in a United Arab Emirates jail, was convicted of corruption, money laundering and other charges as part of the multi-billion dollar 1Malaysia Development Bhd scheme.

The mansion, which was re-listed within a year of its first listing for $38 million, was in escrow with unknown buyer when it was seized by the Department of Justice last summer. The DOJ recently released its hold on the property because the cost of maintaining the spec mansion was too great, according to documents obtained by Yolanda.

Caring, who is reported to be worth about $850 million, is now the proud owner of the Beverly Hills mansion. Christopher Dyson of the Agency represented him in the sale.

Caring is in talks to reach what is expected to be one of the biggest divorce settlements the UK has seen.  [Yolanda’s Little Black Book] — Subrina Hudson