In a weird reversal of the rule that horrifyingly omnipotent Russian oligarchs are supposed to be buying up New York’s trophy condos, the automobile and oil billionaire Boris Berezovsky has sold his 30th-floor apartment at Trump International on Central Park West.
Late last month, according to city records, a buyer named Lucietta Estates Corp.—its president is listed as Joseph DiLorenzo—paid $7,550,000 for the apartment.
Mr. Berezovsky bought the condo for $3.2 million in 2001, the same year he fled Russia, where he has since been found guilty in absentia of embezzlement. He and Putin have clashed furiously, though under Yeltsin Mr. Berezovsky was one of the players who helped divvy up post-Soviet property and power. A 1996 Forbes piece called “Godfather of the Kremlin?” described him as a feared, shadowy gangland patriarch; the article’s author, Paul Klebnikov, was murdered in 2004.
Even though Mr. Berezovsky has sold off his old holdings in aluminum, oil and media companies, it’s striking that a Russian power player would part with his American real estate, considering just how furious the general cross-continental apartment-buying spree has been. Besides big deals this year outside of New York—the fertilizer tycoon Dmitry Rybolovlev just paid $95 million for Donald Trump’s Palm Beach mansion, and the oil billionaire Roman Abramovich paid nearly $50 million in Colorado—brokers here, especially on the Upper East Side, constantly hum happily about Russians. As long as they’re paying absurd prices for New York property, they say, New York property will stay absurdly expensive.
In the past year alone, to pick a few examples, Harvard-educated Len Blavatnik paid a near-record $50 million for an East 64th Street townhouse; the huge designer Valentin Yudashkin, who recently redid the Russian Defense Ministry’s uniforms, bought a $5.7 million duplex penthouse two blocks south; the banker Vladimir Stolyarenko and gambling magnate Boris Belotserkovsky closed on separate units at the Plaza.
It’s unclear why Mr. Berezovsky—who has changed his name to Platon Elenin, which appears on the deed—would want to sell his Trump apartment. “He just felt it was the right time to sell,” his broker, Irina Levieva, said. According to her listing, the three-bedroom apartment has 2,163 square feet, with marble bathrooms and parquet floors, plus “washer-dryer, plenty of closet space throughout.”