One Hyde Park, Londres, 2013, Dylan Thomas

One Hyde Park, Londres, 2013, Dylan Thomas

Super-investigação da Vanity Fair sobre o super-habitat das super-elites. Um resumo:

“Who really lives at One Hyde Park, called the world’s most expensive residential building? Its mostly absentee owners, hiding behind offshore corporations based in tax havens, provide a portrait of the new global super-wealthy.

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Professor Gavin Stamp, of Cambridge University, an architectural historian, called it “a vulgar symbol of the hegemony of excessive wealth, an over-sized gated community for people with more money than sense, arrogantly plonked down in the heart of London.”

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That’s not because the apartments haven’t sold. London land-registry records say that 76 had been by January 2013 for a total of $2.7 billion—but, of these, only 12 were registered in the names of warm-blooded humans, including Christian Candy, in a sixth-floor penthouse. The remaining 64 are held in the names of unfamiliar corporations: three based in London; one, called One Unique L.L.C., in California; and one, Smooth E Co., in Thailand. The other 59—with such names as Giant Bloom International Limited, Rose of Sharon 7 Limited, and Stag Holdings Limited—belong to corporations registered in well-known offshore tax havens, such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Liechtenstein, and the Isle of Man.

From this we can conclude at least two things with certainty about the tenants of One Hyde Park: they are extremely wealthy, and most of them don’t want you to know who they are and how they got their money.

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It comes as a surprise to most people that the most important player in the global offshore system of tax havens is not Switzerland or the Cayman Islands, but Britain

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“Those people who do buy these houses, particularly the bigger ones, in many cases don’t buy them to live in permanently: they are part of a portfolio,” said Bendixson

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Perhaps the most striking fact about One Hyde Park and the London super-prime property market is what it tells us about who the world’s richest people are. Many people think the greatest winners of globalization today are financiers. A decade or so ago, that may have been true. But today another class sits above even them—the global commodity plutocrats: owners of mineral rights, or dominant players in mineral-rich countries in sectors such as construction and finance that benefit from commodity booms.

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London real-estate agents confirm that these commodity plutocrats dethroned the financiers some time before the financial crisis hit. “I can’t remember the last time I sold a property to a banker,” says Stephen Lindsay, of the real-estate agency Savills. “It’s been hard for anyone to compete with the Russians, the Kazakhs. They are all in oil, gas—that is what they do. Construction—all that kind of stuff.”

O artigo completo da Vanity Fair aqui.

[Via José Reis & Cristina]