Billionaire’s $34m mansion mystery
As Sanjeev Gupta scrambles to keep his global steel empire afloat, a minor scandal has arisen in the UK around his personal real estate assets, and a mystery has arisen around his much-reported "purchase" of Bomera - one of Sydney's marquee homes.
In a podcast published by his company GFG Alliance last week, Mr Gupta addressed various issues around the financial health of his company, which employs about 35,000 people globally and owns the Whyalla steelworks and iron ore mines in South Australia.
Mr Gupta spent most of his time talking about the company, but also addressed reports that his wife Nicola, had just received development approval to refurbish their £42m Belgravia mansion.
It was reported that the house had been bought in Nicola's name in August last year, with a mortgage registered to Barclays in Switzerland.
Mr Gupta, speaking to a company representative said the purchase predated the pandemic and the company's financing issues, and was an attempt to put down roots in London.
"We have been almost on a world tour, I moved to Dubai in 2009, then we went to Wales for a couple of years, then we went to Australia for a couple of years, always usually following business ventures,'' Mr Gupta said.
"But we had decided that we wanted to come back home and London is our home, so we wanted to basically settle down.
"We looked for a family house, so in 2019 when I came back we searched for a family house, we found one, which we wanted to make our permanent home.
"I sold a personal property to contribute towards the equity, my family contributed towards the equity, we took a mortgage and we bought a lovely house.
"If it had happened six months later in the middle of Covid I probably wouldn't have done it but we exchanged on the house long before Covid so that's just what happened."
The house is the former residence of Lord Ballyedmond (Edward Haughey), a pharmaceuticals entrepreneur who was killed in a helicopter crash in 2014.
While it was widely reported at the time the Gupta had bought the property, citing sources, a property search indicates that it is owned by a company called Aremob Pty Ltd, which was set up in June 2019. Flip that company name backwards and it spells Bomera.
Aremob has a single shareholder, which happens to be not Mr Gupta, but his trusted adviser Les Owen from Bell Potter Securities.
Property data verifies the reported sale price of $34m, with the deal taking place on October 14, 2019, but Mr Gupta's name is not on the docket.
That sale price delivered a handsome return to former owner Leanne Catelan, the daughter of the late property data pioneer Ray Catelan, since 2013 when it was purchased for $12.5 million.
Mr Owen, a Bellevue Hill resident, didn't respond to our query about who owns the house.
GFG declined to comment.
Hopefully whoever owns the eight-bedroom, five-bathroom sandstone home at 1 Wylde St, which sits on a huge 2308 sqm block overlooking Sydney Harbour, is getting some enjoyment out of the place.
Bomera was built in 1856 by architect John Frederick Hilly for the colonial merchant William McQuade.
He then commissioned the marina villa next door, Tarana, in 1889 for his son Arthur "Fred" McQuade.
Between 1941 and 2001 both homes served as fleet headquarters for the Navy before being sold off to a property developer for $6.55 million.
Originally published as Billionaire's $34m Sydney mansion mystery