Mon, Apr 15, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Russian tycoon’s daughter snaps up Onassis’ island

Reuters, MOSCOW and ATHENS

The daughter of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev has bought the Greek resort island where shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis famously married Jacqueline Kennedy in the 1960s, Rybolovlev’s investment office said.

The sale price was not disclosed. Greek media reports on Saturday placed the value of Skorpios island at more than US$100 million and said Ekaterina Rybolovleva wanted it not only for leisure, but also business purposes.

She purchased Skorpios, in the Ionian Sea off western Greece, from Onassis’ 28-year-old granddaughter, Athena Onassis Roussel, the only surviving descendant of the shipping magnate.

“Ekaterina is delighted that the trust has negotiated this purchase,” a representative of Rybolovlev’s family investment office said on condition of anonymity. “She regards the acquisition as a long-term financial investment.”

She also acquired the small neighboring island of Sparti.

Dmitry Rybolovlev, owner of soccer club AS Monaco and co-founder of the Russian potash producer Uralkali, has a history of snapping up trophy properties.

Aristotle Onassis purchased Skorpios in 1963 and turned the barren island into a luxury resort by planting thousands of trees and importing sand. In 1968 he married Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of the assassinated US president John F. Kennedy.

After Aristotle Onassis’ death in 1975, Skorpios passed to his daughter Christina, who died of a heart attack at 37 in the late 1980s.

Onassis, his son Alexander, who was killed in an airplane crash at age 25, and Christina were buried on Skorpios.

The mayor of the nearby island of Meganisi, Efstathios Zavitsanos, who is administratively responsible for Skorpios, said the deal was likely to be a long-term lease since, according to some lawyers, Aristotle Onassis’ will stated that Skorpios could not be sold or leave the family.

“We have lived with the Onassis legend and it will never fade,” he said. “You see, Aristotle was close to the local society, the fishermen and the residents. He was not just a rich man, he was truly loved.”

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