It’s a story with several layers. According to Monaco Matin while the international press had widely relayed certain information, it seems that Rayo Withanage never completed his offer for purchasing the property, put forth in December 2016. The businessman of Sri Lankan origin and Fiji native lives between London and Brunei. He was believed to be the owner of Pablo Picasso’s last mansion in Mougins, which has been denied by Maxime Van Rolleghem. The latter, a lawyer at the Grasse Bar, is the weapon of choice for Dutch councils representing the previous purchaser’s bank.
“I pursue, on behalf of this bank, the sale of the foreclosed real estate. A first hearing was scheduled last 2 February before the Grasse tribunal. The hearing was rejected because the party presented a buyer”.
Since then, the situation has not changed much. “Time passed. We had re-posted the sale for 8 June but Mr. Wilhanage did not present himself. The bank itself requested to purchase it for €18,360 million, Mr. Withanage outbid in the next eight days. But the acquisition was never finalized before a notary.”
The property will return to the market on 12 October with a price of €20,196 million. “The auction is open, all potential buyers can participate. Let the best one win,” concludes Van Rolleghem, recalling that visits will take place on 22 and 29 September, from 2 to 4 pm.
On the 12th of October, candidates will have to fulfill two obligations. Coming with a lawyer and having a guaranteed cheque issued by a French bank for a little more than €2 million, i.e. 10% of the starting price.
American and Chinese amateurs will be among the ranks. Christie’s International has just recommenced communications concerning Notre-Dame-de-Vie. Insisting on the uniqueness of a set that develops a living area of 2,400 m2, 1,500 m2 for the main section. Fifteen bedrooms, twelve bathrooms, a swimming pool, terraces on 33 hectares of land…
“You have to come in to understand how exceptional this house is. Once inside, you do not want to leave,” assures Van Rolleghem who places its “true value” at between €30 and €50 million. Catherine Hutin, daughter of Jacqueline Roque-Picasso, sold Notre-Dame-de Vie to a Dutch investor on 11 December 2007, preferring to live in the Château de Vauvenargues, near Aix-en-Provence. Pablo Picasso had settled in 1961 in Mougins. He died there on 8 April 1973, after a productive 12 years.
Photo credit: www.nicematin.com