Billionaire's property empire collapses as administrators try to sell £500m of London offices

Billionaire's property empire collapses as administrators try to sell £500m of London offices



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The embattled property empire of well-known, Syrian-born billionaire, Simon Halabi, has suffered a further fall from grace as six of its most expensive

London

properties are put into administration.

Earlier this year, The Times newspaper reported that the empire was facing trouble as a £1.15 billion loan secured against nine properties was due to mature. Analysts noted that the loan would be impossible to refinance as the value of the properties had dropped to £929 million as commercial property values took a battering.

The loan was called in after investors failed to resolve the funding gap. Shortly afterwards, HM Revenue & Customs ordered the liquidation of the companies that owned the properties, after unsuccessfully trying to call in £4.8 million in unpaid taxes.

Now the High Court has appointed accountancy firm, Ernst & Young, as administrator for the six

London

properties, worth £500 million. It has been said that the administration will lead to a sale of the office buildings, which include

Aviva

Tower

and

Leadenhall Court

in the City and the Victoria Embankment offices of JP Morgan.

Commercial property investors are now thought to be circling closely with a view to securing a prime asset at the bottom of the market once the eventual sale takes place.

According to The Sunday Times Rich List in 2007 – where he was ranked a respectable fourteenth – Mr Halabi has a net worth of £3 billion and owns shares in 30 companies. He is known for being extremely secretive about the structure of his family’s property investments.

 

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