The sale of the late tycoon Aristotle Onassis’ private island of Skorpios by his granddaughter Athina to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, who reportedly bought it for his daughter Ekaterina, will be reviewed by the Greek Council of State to make sure it compiles with the terms of his will.
Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, responding to a question from New Democracy MP Yiannis Michelakis, who claimed that Onassis had left specific instructions in his will about what should happen to the island if his family sold it, said the country’s highest court will get a look at the deal.
Greek media has reported that Rybolovlev is currently visiting the island with friends and has begun work on restoring the buildings already on the land.
Last month, Proto Thema reported that renovation was underway, with Rybolovlev and his daughter ordering the removal and disposal of many objects. The newspaper said that the island’s dump was being filled with scrap metal, and items used by Aristotle Onassis and his children, including small cars used by employees to move around the island and two cruisers of Alexander and Christina Onassis, his daughter, who passed away.
The vehicles were loaded onto trucks and transferred to a recycling factory in Larissa. Other objects, such as paintings and valuables have also moved to England by a management company acting on behalf of Athena Onassis.
The contracts for the deal were drafted by two major law firms, one of which is based in Geneva, Switzerland and the other in Athens, Greece. “A company belonging to a trust acting in the interest of Ekaterina Rybolovleva has completed the purchase of a group of companies formerly ultimately owned by Mrs Athina Onassis, said a representative of the Rybolovlev family to Greek Reporter in April.
“Amongst the assets of this group of companies are the islands of Skorpios and Sparti. Ekaterina is delighted that the trust has negotiated this purchase. She sees significant potential for further improvement of the islands using environmentally friendly technology and regards the acquisition as a long-term financial investment.”
Skorpios is mainly known as the private island of the late Greek shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis. He bought it in 1962 for 3 million Greek Drachmas. It was the site of his wedding to former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy on Oct. 20, 1968 which brought the island into the international spotlight. The media went crazy for both the celebrity couple and the idea of private islands, and owning one quickly became the highest symbol of wealth and status.
Upon his death it passed to his daughter Christina, and then in turn to her daughter Athina Roussel – Onassis. Onassis, his son Alexander, and his daughter Christina are all buried on the island. Little is known about Athina’s relationship to her former private island, however she is believed to have spent very little time there.
The island is heavily forested from south to north and features over 200 varieties of trees imported to the once nearly barren island by Aristotle Onassis. There are some sandy beaches, most notably East Beach, which was created by Onassis who brought sand from Salamis island for this purpose.
There is also a small sand beach where the Myconos house, formerly known as the so-called Pig House is located. This was where Jackie Onassis was infamously photographed nude by a Greek paparazzo. Among the many celebrities who had shown interest in buying the island in the past are Madonna and Bill Gates.
While the amount of the sale was not known, financial publications estimate the private island’s value at over $100 million.