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In the first months of 2013, rumors began to spread that Athina Onassis, who is currently 35 years old and the granddaughter of Aristotle Onassis, intended to put the family island of Skorpios up for sale. The rumors came true when the sale of the Greek island to Ekaterina Rybolovleva, a 30-year-old daughter of Russian billionaire Dimitry Rybolovleva, 53, the current owner of the AS Monaco Football Club, was confirmed in mid-April of that year. He has been ranked 224 since 2019 in the Forbes list of the richest men in the world (his fortune is estimated to be $ 6.6 billion).
But this is not the first property of great value that Ekaterina Rybolovleva has acquired in recent years. In 2012 she bought a New York penthouse for $88 million, breaking records for individual real estate transactions. Representatives of the Russian heiress also confirmed that, along with the purchase of the island, Rybolovleva also acquired several other properties and companies from Athina, including the island of Sparti. The final amount of the investment has not been revealed, but it is known that Onassis‘ granddaughter received more than $220 million for Skorpios.
Rumors about the sale of Skorpios have been commonplace throughout the years. Pop icon Madonna, as well as Giorgio Armani and Bill Gates showed interest in purchasing it; Gates offered 300 million euros in 2004. This time the transaction went smoothly, not only because of Rybolovleva’s multimillion dollar offer, but because Athina was able to overcome the legal obstacles set by Onassis for selling the island.
Located in the Ionian sea, west of mainland Greece, Skorpios sits on 200 acres of abundant vegetation (more than 200 species) and sandy beaches, including one built by Onassis with sand from the island of Salamis. Aristotle Onassis bought the island from the Greek Government in 1962 for 3.5 million drachmas (the equivalent of $25,000). The idyllic island has three residences, a heliport and its own wharf for cruise ships.
The island became famous as the love nest of Aristotle and Jackie Onassis. The couple married there on October 20, 1968. After Onassis’s death in 1975, the island became property of his daughter Christina, and later it was inherited by his granddaughter Athina Roussel, daughter of the marriage of Christina with Thierry Roussel.
Although Aristotle Onassis and his children Alexander and Christina are buried on the island, Athina has visited Skorpios only on three occasions. For many, this has been interpreted as her desire to keep away painful family memories. Since her marriage in 2005 to Brazilian equestrian athlete Álvaro de Miranda Neto, Athina has remained distant from all family related events, and the island may have lost the sentimental value it once had. In addition, it seems that Athina was never interested in assuming the cost of maintaining the property, which is reported to be a soaring one and a half million dollars a year. ■