LA Times: Beverly Hills mansion built by alleged ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ embezzler sells for $27.4MM
This 13,000-square-foot mansion in Beverly Hills has a new owner — one who wasn’t accused of laundering about $250 million from a Malaysian government investment fund and using the stolen cash to produce “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
It’s been a dramatic decade for the property perched in Trousdale Estates, which has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times with questionable taste and dubious funding. In 2007, it was bought by Mohamed Hadid — the celebrity real estate developer known for building a 30,000-square-foot spaceship-like mega-mansion in Bel-Air before a court ordered it to be torn down two years ago.
For this one, Hadid erected an Egyptian-themed house complete with a pyramid in the front room and sold it to Jho Low, the Malaysian businessman accused of masterminding a scheme that stole $4.5 billion from the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund, also known as 1MDB.
Low, who fled the country and is considered an international fugitive, later transferred it to his partner in the scandal, Riza Aziz.
Aziz acquired the property in hopes of rebuilding the gaudy home into a vacation spot for his stepfather; in addition to being the co-founder of Red Granite Pictures and producing films such as “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Daddy’s Home,” he’s the stepson of former Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak. (Razak was also charged with looting the 1MDB fund and sentenced to 12 years in jail last summer.)
According to the listing, Aziz poured more than $40 million into transforming the extravagant mansion, adding a three-tiered movie theater where he screened “The Wolf of Wall Street” and a posh guest suite for himself.
Construction was halted, however, when federal authorities accused Aziz of laundering $250 million from 1MDB, money which allegedly funded the movies he produced and the real estate he purchased. He plead not guilty but agreed to return $107 million in assets, including the Beverly Hills home he was preparing for Razak.
As part of the deal, he quietly sold the estate for $19 million in 2019 to a limited liability company based in Delaware whose ownership is not clear. The new developer put the finishing touches on the property, fixing the torn-up landscaping and clearing off dirt and construction equipment that riddled the grounds.
“There was a cement mixer left in the driveway,” according to one real estate source who was not authorized to comment on the sale.
Once completed, the mansion surfaced for sale at $30 million last summer and just sold for $27.4 million. The buyer is Steven Gilfenbain, founder and chief executive of grape distribution company Stevco Inc., according to the source.
Sold fully furnished, the newly finished residence boasts sleek, modern style and commanding views of the city below. A chandelier-topped entry hall sets a dramatic tone, and the adjacent great room features a motorized wall of glass that leads to an infinity pool and spa.
The gallery-white walls are ideal for art displays with museum-style tracks and lighting. Six bedrooms and 11 bathrooms complete the single-story floor plan, including a primary suite with dual bathrooms, dual closets and an outdoor garden shower.
Outside, the gated grounds include a guardhouse and spacious lawn with approved plans for a 3,600-square-foot guesthouse.
At $27.4 million, it’s the priciest home sale in Beverly Hills so far this year, according to the Multiple Listing Service.
Fred Bernstein and Ethan Peskowitz of Westside Estate Agency held the listing. Orah Nassirzadeh, also with Westside Estate Agency, represented the buyer.
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