France sells Riviera chateau seized from late Putin foe

A French Riviera chateau seized from late Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky has been sold to an undisclosed buyer, according to France's agency for handling confiscated assets.

A local press report said the buyer was the Ukrainian-born co-founder of the WhatsApp messaging service.

Berezovsky, who died in the UK under inconclusive circumstances in 2013, fell out with President Vladimir Putin after helping him rise to power in Russia.

The powerful tycoon acquired the Chateau de la Garoupe on the Cote d'Azur in the 1990s while post-Soviet Russia's first president Boris Yeltsin was in power.

The mansion was then confiscated by French authorities in 2015, two years after Berezovsky was found hanged in exile at his home in England -- by then a bitter opponent of Putin.

A British coroner's inquest recorded an open verdict, meaning that there was not enough evidence to determine the exact cause of death.

France's Agency for the Management and Recovery of Seized and Confiscated Assets (Agrasc) did not disclose the identity of the buyer or the deal's price tag for confidentiality reasons.

But French regional daily Nice-Matin reported the property went to WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum.

The newspaper said that the US billionaire, whose mega-yacht Moonrise was seen moored on the French Riviera all summer, paid nearly 65 million euros ($70 billion) for the property -- one of Agrasc's biggest sales since its foundation in 2010.

They were ruled to have acted as a front for Berezovsky.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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