Saturday, July 20, 2019

Island Market

Greece: Italian Real Estate Agent Admits Buffett Island Claims Were Lies

An Italian real estate company has admitted fabricating claims that billionaire US-investor Warren Buffett had purchased a private island in Greece called St. Thomas Island

St Thomas Island - Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

St Thomas Island – Photo Courtesy of Vladi Private Islands

  • Rumours that Warren Buffett had purchased a private island in Greece had been circulating the international press since early last week
  • Yet despite insisting they had legal proof that the sale took place, the Italian real estate company reported to be behind the deal has now admitted falsifying the story

The international press has been full of tales that billionaire US-investor Warren Buffett had become the second foreigner ever to buy a private island in Greece. Yet in an embarrassing U-turn for many of the world’s most renowned publications, the story turned out to be a hoax. Private Island News investigates.

Sale of St. Thomas? – Sensation in Greece

The news formed nothing short of a sensation in Greece. According to reports from Italy, billionaire investor Warren Buffet – one of the world’s richest men – had splashed out EUR 15 million on a private island close to Athens.

The island in question is known locally as Agios Thomas (Saint Thomas Island) – a 1.21 km sq. undeveloped island located to the northwest of Aegina in the heart of the Saronic Gulf. According to the real estate company behind the deal, Buffet bought the island privately, with a view to developing it.

Buffet Denies Involvement

Yet just one day after the story broke, question marks were cast over the authenticity of the deal, with Hamburg-based broker Farhad Vladi amongst the first to voice his doubts. A denial from Buffet soon followed.

In an article posted in the Buffett-owned Omaha Word Herald, Buffet was quoted as saying that “until the reports started coming out, I had never heard of the guy who is making claims about the island.” He went on to categorically deny that he was purchasing the island and concluded by stating that he had no interest in investing the region.

A Deliberate Falsification by Italian Broker

In a further twist, it has now been revealed that the whole story was nothing but a falsification by a rogue broker operating out of Italy.

Despite initial insistence that they had legal proof that the sale had taken place, Italian brokerage Proto Enterprises – owned by a certain Alessandro Proto – ultimately conceded that the story was a hoax under mounting pressure from international journalists.

Proto has since issued a bizarre statement about the affair, describing his claims as a “sociological experiment” which will lead to both a meeting with Buffet and an economic bounce-back for Greece.

“From a lie I was bringing money back into a country that does not have money,” he said. “You think I will not be able to meet Buffett? You’ll see.”

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