A yet-to-be identified buyer has paid $36million for the luxury penthouse at the One57 tower in New York formerly owned by wanted Nigerian oilman Kola Aluko.
Quoting Bloomberg, Curbed reported that the 79th floor apartment was sold at a foreclosure auction. The transaction means a $15m loss on the property.
The oil magnate wanted in Nigeria by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for fraudulent oil deals estimated at $1.5 billion, bought the apartment in 2014 for $51m.
Aluko, along with his business partner Jide Omokore, also has a case to answer in the United States for alleged money laundering charges.
With oil deals closed in Nigeria, Aluko subsequently defaulted on mortgage and tax payments on the property.
The Luxembourg-based Banque Havilland which issued the mortgage on the One57 apartment had initially planned to put the apartment up for auction in July, but foreclosure proceedings were delayed after another one of Kola Aluko’s creditors came forward and claimed the Nigerian oilman owed it about $83 million for gasoline and jet fuel.
The bank attempted to sell the property in September for $39m but couldn’t get any buyer. So it was put back on the auction block.
The 47-year-old tycoon, linked to former oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has vanished from the radar since he was being looked for by both the US authorities and the EFCC.
A Nigerian court tried to freeze Aluko’s assets, including his One57 unit, as part of the alleged scheme to defraud the government of oil sale profits.
But the court could not find Aluko to serve him with papers. It is believed that he may simply be floating around the world on his 213-foot yacht, the Galactica Star., bought at a cost of $80m, despite strong objections by Nigeria’s former oil minister, Diezani Alison Madueke.