A once lavish Bird Streets mansion once owned by Jho Low, and that was seized by the federal government, has sold for less than half what the fugitive financier paid for it eight years ago.
The home soaring glass-walled home sold for $18.5 million, according to Mansion Global. Low paid $39 million for the Paul McClean-designed 13,000-square-foot property. Low faces money laundering charges in Malaysia for his alleged central role in the $4.5 billion theft of 1MDB.
Though the house is located in the exclusive neighborhood, the fire-sale price points to its deteriorating condition. Parts of the interior were taken down to the studs, while the pool and grounds fell into severe disrepair.
Still, the unnamed buyer plans to restore what many developers would consider a tear-down, according to the report.
The property at 1423 Oriole Drive hit the market last May.
Ernie Carswell and Christopher Pickett of Douglas Elliman handled the listing for the U.S. government, which claims the property was purchased with stolen funds from the scandal.
The new owner will have to spend as much as $12 million to restore the home, including $1 million for the pool and its surroundings alone, Mansion Global reported. In its current condition, the house was described by one real estate professional as completely dismantled.
Low, the fugitive Malaysian playboy and a “Wolf of Wall Street” film backer, briefly resided at the property after he purchased the sprawling spec home in 2012, for a then-record amount in the Bird Streets.
Federal officials charged Low, who now is believed to be hiding out in China, with looting the billions from Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund. In October, he agreed to turn over to the federal government $700 million in assets he amassed as part of the alleged embezzlement.
Among those assets were $100 million in real estate, including the Bird Street home, a penthouse in Manhattan’s Time Warner Center — in contract to sell for $30 million — and a prewar apartment in one of SoHo’s historic cast iron buildings, according to the report.
The feds also will be looking to market a private jet, various fine art pieces and diamond jewelry obtained in the forfeiture. Proceeds from the sales will be returned to parties injured in the alleged embezzlement scheme. [Mansion Global] — Tina Daunt