The world’s most expensive real estate project is under investigation after it emerged the majority of owners in the Qatar-backed One Hyde Park development failed to pay council taxes.
Just nine of the 62 apartments in the London development, which is part-owned by Qatar’s prime minister, are registered to pay council tax by Westminster City Council, the Observer reported.
Owners of four of the flats have paid the full tax of 755.60 a year plus £619.64 to city authorities, while five are paying the 50 percent discounted rate owed on a second home, the newspaper said.
Local councils can apply to a magistrate’s court for a warrant to imprison a council tax debtor if they are refusing to pay but have means, the report said.
The cheapest home at the luxury London property would set buyers back £5.75m ($9.2m).
One Hyde Park was launched by great fanfare in January, reportedly breaking world records for the most expensive price per square foot at £6,000. The development, which is owned by Project Grande, a joint venture between CPC Group and the Prime Minister of Qatar’s Waterknights, is touted as one of the most exclusive housing projects in the world.
Perks include 24-hour room service supplied by the Mandarin Oriental hotel, a private cinema, swimming pool and a golf simulator.
Ownership of the apartments, which are within walking distance of Hyde Park and Harvey Nichols, has been highly secretive since its launch. Candy & Candy, the development manager behind the property, told Arabian Business in February that nearly a quarter of the apartments had been sold to Middle Eastern investors.
“I would say of total sales to date, 20-25 percent [are from the Middle East],” Nick Candy said.
The Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Jasim Jaber Al-Thani, is said to have paid £135m for a penthouse in the Knightsbridge-based development.
Mohammed Saud Sultan Al Qasimi, head of finance for the government of Sharjah, has reportedly reserved one of the duplex apartments.
The Observer said ownership of 25 apartments is registered in the British Virgin Islands, while other tax havens used to purchase property include Cayman Islands, Liechtenstein and Liberia.
Project Grande denied it was required to provide the identities of the owners.
“Once the apartment is sold, it is not the developer's responsibility to register the new owner with the council. This is the responsibility of the owner,” a spokesperson told the paper.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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