For months it had been rumored, in journalistic circles, that Athina Onassis, the 28 year old granddaughter of Aristotle Onassis, was planning to put up for sale the family island, Skorpios.The news was confirmed in mid-April, when it was reported that Onassis had sold the Greek island to Ekaterina Rybolovleva. The 23 year-old is the daughter of Russian billionaire Dimitry Rybolovleva, current owner of the AS Monaco Football Club. Dimitry Rybolovleva, 47, occupies the number 79 in Forbes list of the richest people in the world (his fortune is estimated at more than 100 billion euros).
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. ■