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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Malibu pad seized from African playboy undergoing major facelift: sources

Owners Mauricio Oberfield and Mauricio Umansky may be seeking quick flip
By Katherine Clarke | January 27, 2017 03:20PM

The Sweetwater Mesa mansion

Mauricio Oberfeld, the wealthy investor who snagged one of Malibu’s priciest homes from the feds last year for $38 million, is renovating the property and may look to flip it for a quick profit, sources told The Real Deal.

Oberfeld bought the neglected property, on Sweetwater Mesa Road, in partnership with Mauricio Umansky, co-founder of luxe brokerage the Agency, last year, records show. The pair has been giving the home a massive facelift and plans to put it back on the market, according to a person with knowledge of the plans.

One source said the partners are likely to make a hefty profit, since they acquired the property for a massive discount — just $3 million more than its 2006 sale price. They bought it straight from the Justice Department, which had seized it from the previous owner, Teodoro Nguema Obiang, the playboy son of Equatorial Guinea president Teodoro Obiang. Obiang was accused of using funds pilfered from his home country to pay for the house.

Neither Oberfeld nor Umansky responded to requests for comment on their plans for the project.

The backstory of the property reads like a scene from “Catch me if you Can.”

Obiang reportedly agreed to give up the house, as well as his Ferarri and extensive collection of Michael Jackson memorabilia, in order to settle federal prosecutors claims. Of the sale price, at least a third was slated to go to the U.S. government, while a large chunk was set aside for the people of Equatorial Guinea.

The young mogul, who is also well-known for his love of flashy cars and designer duds, is currently standing trial in France on corruption charges after he allegedly bought palatial Parisian properties with money stolen from his native country.

The 15,000-square-foot Malibu property has been the subject of much speculation in real estate circles, since few have seen the interior. There’s a three-hole golf course, a swimming pool, ponds and a tennis court on the grounds.

Certainly, the high-end Malibu market has been heating up.

Beats co-founder Jimmy Iovine’s purchase of Marcy Carsey’s Malibu home for $60 million boosted seller’s hopes. Cindy Crawford and her husband, businessman Rande Gerber, recently listed their Encinal Bluffs area pad for $60 million.