Meet Lev Leviev - the billionaire moving into Britain's richest new house
PUBLISHED: 17:16 10 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:40 07 September 2010
A HOUSE in Highgate has been sold for £32million to a diamond merchant - making it Britain s most expensive new home
A HOUSE in Highgate has been sold for £32million to a diamond merchant - making it Britain's most expensive new home.
Israeli billionaire Lev Leviev, 51, a friend of Roman Abramovich, is set to move into the mansion with his wife Olga and two of their nine children.
The home is just a stone's throw from both the Witanhurst house, which sold for £32million last summer, and a property on The Bishops Avenue bought by Andreas Panayioutou, which he plans to redevelop and resell for £85million later this year.
The three mansions represent a recent surge of super-rich interest in the area which borders Hampstead Heath.
Haringey councillor Bob Hare oversaw the development of the mansion, known locally as Palladio, as a member of the council's planning committee.
He said: "I wasn't terribly convinced when it came to the committee. I don't want to see this road become stylistically just another Bishops Avenue.
"You've got to be increasingly wealthy to live in that area now and the desire is increasing for these gated homes."
The home was created by property developer Mansour Namaki initially for his own family before he sold it to Mr Leviev who runs Israel's largest diamond company LLD and is worth around £3billion.
It has an array of jaw-dropping features, such as the indoor pool with gold plated tiles, which converts into a ballroom, a spa with hair salon and treatment room and a gym.
It has eight bedrooms and staff accommodation with separate access for Mr Leviev's family and car parking spaces for his-and-her Rolls Royce Phantoms.
For security it has infra-red cameras that can be controlled from a "yacht in the Caribbean if necessary" as well as an armour-plated front door.
The entry hall is also said to be modelled on the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles.
The home was sold by Glentree International and sub-agents Beauchamp Estates.
Managing director of Glentree Trevor Abrahmsohn said: "This house represents arguably the finest new-build house in Europe, if not the world today."
Mr Leviev joins Europe's richest man Lakshmi Mittal and Express mogul Richard Desmond, who own houses in The Bishops Avenue nearby.
Former neighbours include Ringo Starr and Lulu.
Cllr John Marshall, planning chief for Barnet Council, in which The Bishops Avenue is found, said the area was seeing a resurgence of grandiose luxury mansions, returning to the 20s when the likes of Gracie Fields lived in the area.
"Hampstead Heath and Kenwood make this such a nice area it is not surprising these people move here," he said.
"However, we will not just give planning permission for anything and we are not scared to turn these mansions down if there are objections."