French authorities have seized Roman Abramovich’s stunning villa in the south of France which once belonged to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor as part of a crackdown on Russian oligarchs amid the invasion of Ukraine.
Château de la Croë is situated on one of the most prestigious parts of the French Riviera – the Cap d’Antibes – and local estate agents estimate it is worth around £90million.
Constructed in 1926, the elegant villa comes complete with over a dozen bedrooms, eight bathrooms and is set in 12 acres of lush woodland and lavish lawns just metres from the Mediterranean sea.
Abramovich spent some £30million restoring the Château after he bought it in 2001, building a 15 metre swimming pool on the roof and inserting a huge gym and home cinema in the basement to create the ultimate billionaire’s play pad.
But before one of Putin’s favourite money-men moved in, the incredible property was used as a holiday home by the former King of England Edward VIII and American socialite Wallis Simpson – better known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor became owners of the Château de la Croë in 1938 after King Edward VIII abdicated the throne.
The villa became one of the couple’s favourite retreats and was also used on several occasions to host highly esteemed guests.
Winston Churchill, the famous Prime Minister who successfully led Britain to victory through the Second World War, celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary with the Duke and Duchess in the villa in 1948 before the Château was sold two years later.
The villa’s seizure by French authorities came as part of an enormous operation which has seen more than £20billion worth of cash, properties and other assets belonging to Russian oligarchs confiscated or frozen in recent weeks, France’s Economy and Finance Ministry confirmed today.
A ministry source said the villa was among 12 properties belonging to the former Chelsea Football Club owner which were seized, most of which were bought using specially created French companies. Dailymail