It has been widely reported that Roman Abramovich had bought a £90?million house in Kensington Palace Gardens from Belgian-born hedge fund enterpreneur Pierre Lagrange, who had snapped it up for only £19?million in 2004.
But a Land Registry search reveals that the property is still owned by the same Jersey-based company that acquired it seven years ago.
This has prompted speculation that Abramovich may be looking to avoid paying £4.5 million in Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) by using the legal device of buying the company which owns the long leasehold of the house instead of the lease itself.
Not so, insists Abramovich’s spokesman. He says the sale is still being finalised and, once completed, he is confident the property will be re-registered on the Land Registry and SDLT will be paid in full.