Prince Harry and Meghan Markle bought their new California mansion from a Russian businessman with a $9.5million mortgage after the price was knocked down by more than $10million, DailyMail.com can reveal.
The 14,563-square-foot home, known as ‘The Chateau’, sits on 5.4 acres of land and immaculately clipped hedges border the estate’s stone-pillared entry gates.
The seller is thought to be Russian tycoon Sergey Grishin who bought the ‘palatial’ mansion for more than $25million in 2009 and had tried to sell the home for up to $34million before eventually accepting a loss.
Grishin is also the former owner of a different California estate – known as the Scarface mansion because it appeared in the 1983 Al Pacino movie – which sold for a similarly cut-price $12million in 2015.
Property listings say the home took nearly five years to build and included a library, office, spa with a separate dry and wet sauna, a gym with a stripper pole, game room, arcade, theater, wine cellar and five-car garage.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s $14.7million home in Santa Barbara, California, is seen above
The Sussexes have been living in the Montecito home for six weeks. They are pictured above with Archie in September last year
The home sits on a private road in an exclusive area of Santa Barbara, home to many celebrities
The home was built in 2003. The estate has sweeping lawns, tiered rose gardens, tall Italian cypress trees, blooming lavender, century old olive trees, a tennis court, tea house, children’s cottage and a pool
A cut-price palace… but running costs could reach $4.4million per year
Harry and Meghan bought their new home for $14.7million, a bargain compared to its earlier selling price of more than $25million and a previous listing of $34million.
However, the mansion comes with eye-watering bills of its own which could stretch as high as $4.4million per year.
MORTGAGE: $480,000 PER YEAR
The couple have secured a $9.5million mortgage for the $14.7million home, suggesting they made a down-payment of around $5.2million.
At typical interest rates provided by Bank of America, the couple would have to pay around $40,000 a month or $480,000 a year in order to repay their $9.5million mortgage over 30 years.
PROPERTY TAX: $68,000 PER YEAR
Finance technology firm SmartAsset estimates that a $14.7million home in Montecito, California would be liable for around $68,000 per year in property tax.
The tax is based on the purchase price of the home, but is also affected by other variables such as the rate of inflation.
STAFF: $300,000 PER YEAR
Harry and Meghan have not revealed what kind of staff they will employ, but a full-time staff of cooks, gardeners and housekeepers would come with a hefty bill.
Christopher Baker, who runs a firm that supplies domestic staff in California, told the Hollywood Reporter in 2015 that a staff for A-list celebrities can cost $200,000 to $300,000 per year, or even more.
UTILITIES: $24,000 PER YEAR
According to cost-of-living database Numbeo, utility bills for a 900 sq ft home in Santa Barbara County are typically around $200 per month.
Harry and Meghan’s mansion is more than 10 times larger, suggesting a possible bill of at least $2,000 per month or $24,000 per year. Justin Rubinstein of real estate firm Compass told Business Insider last year that utility bills of $2,000 to $3,000 a month were typical for large mansions.
SECURITY: $3.3MILLION PER YEAR
Reports earlier this year claimed that Harry and Meghan had hired $9,000-a-day security firm GDBA to protect them in Los Angeles.
If GDBA were hired for 365 days a year at that rate, Harry and Meghan would be left with a $3.3million bill for security alone.
GDBA is run by Gavin de Becker, a security expert and former presidential adviser who was previously hired by Jeff Bezos as a private investigator.
The firm offers ‘highly trained, highly screened’ security guards who control access to the homes of the rich and powerful, boasting that its thousands of clients include ‘over 90 of the world’s most prominent families and at-risk individuals’, said to include Tom Hanks and Madonna.
TOTAL: $4.4MILLION PER YEAR
The entrance to the property opens onto a wide lane paved with hand-cut Santa Barbara Stone that leads through a grand archway of trees to the main residence, according to Zillow.
The estate has sweeping lawns, tiered rose gardens, tall Italian cypress trees, blooming lavender, century old olive trees, a tennis court, tea house, children’s cottage and a pool.
It also boasts a two-bedroom, two-bath guest house, perfect for Meghan’s mother Doria, who is acting as one-year-old Archie’s nanny. Doria has already been to the house, TMZ reports.
According to Zillow, the house has been updated with the latest Lutron lighting systems and Crestron, including iPad control.
The property is located on a private road in a luxury and secluded estate in Montecito.
The home is around a two-hour drive from downtown Los Angeles and almost every house in the multi-million dollar neighborhood is designed for privacy, with long driveways and large gates.
Harry and Meghan bought the luxury property after securing a $9.5million mortgage, it is believed, implying that they made a down-payment of more than $5million.
At typical interest rates, the couple would have to pay $40,000 a month or $480,000 a year in order to repay the mortgage over 30 years.
Annual property tax is estimated at $68,000 and the costs of security and utilities for the huge mansion will also come with hefty bills.
The couple have bought the property despite still owing the British taxpayer £2.4million ($3.1million) for the renovation of Frogmore Cottage, their former home near Windsor Castle.
The pair have agreed to pay £18,000 ($24,000) a month to repay the cost of refurbishing the cottage, and royal expert Ingrid Seward said on Wednesday that the new expenditure was ‘not going to be looked at very favorably’.
Reports said yesterday that Harry and Meghan purchased the home with help from Prince Charles, but a source told DailyMail.com that the couple ‘feel proud to have struck out on their own and they are saying they bought it without any help from his family.
‘They do have a mortgage, but they see this as their own place, free from relying on anyone else – a proper family home,’ the source said.
At their peak Harry and Meghan’s combined wealth had been estimated to be around $43million.
After changing hands in 2009, the home was listed by Sotheby’s six years later for $34.5million, but had no takers.
Eventually it was relisted for $16,975,000 in January this year, and sold to the Sussexes for $2,325,000 less than the asking price.
Page Six reported that the couple have been living in Santa Barbara for the past six weeks.
According to the LA Times, the seller was a limited liability company linked to Russian businessman Sergey Grishin, who previously had to sell the Scarface estate for a fraction of its original asking price.
The setting was famously used for the exterior shots of Tony Montana’s mansion in Scarface, while other scenes – including the dramatic final shoot-out – were filmed on sets.
The palatial residence, set in 10 acres, was originally put on the market in May 2014 for $36million after it was purchased by Grishin in 2008.
However, the the sprawling ‘El Fureidis’ – which means ‘Tropical Paradise’ in Spanish – was eventually for $12.26million, barely a third of its initial listing.
The palatial residence, set in 10 acres, was originally put on the market in May 2014 for $36million
Harry and Meghan have moved into the star-studded neighborhood in California
The sprawling estate sits on 5.4 acres. Property listings say the home took nearly five years to build and included a library, office, spa with a separate dry and wet sauna, a gym with a stripper pole, game room, arcade, theater, wine cellar and five-car garage
The couple are thought to have bought the property from Russian businessman Sergey Grishin (pictured)
Leading luxury real estate broker Jason Streatfeild, who has an office in Montecito, told DailyMail.com Harry and Meghan will fit right into the community.
‘It’s the type of neighborhood where you may not realize who your neighbor is but you really don’t care,’ he said.
‘It’s not unusual to run into Oprah Winfrey at the grocery store or to be sitting next to Ellen DeGeneres for lunch at the Miramar Hotel.
‘It’s a very private and exclusive area, a place where you can escape with an ocean in front of you and the mountains behind you.
‘We’re about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles and about four hours south of San Francisco – a unique south facing coastal community that has the channel islands directly in front of us.
‘We have a wonderful climate, calm waters and it’s just a very laid back health orientated community with plenty to do outdoors.’
Streatfeild, 39, who runs a team of five agents in Montecito for the Douglas Elliman real estate firm, said there’s also plenty of shopping and great places to eat.
‘There are also two small commercial districts filled with wonderful restaurants and high end shops,’ he said.
‘Harry and Meghan coming here will certainly create a buzz, but then we’re used to celebrities here.’
Harry and Meghan have gotten a steal, as their new home initially sold in 2009 for over $25million
Neighbors told DailyMail.com they had not seen the Sussexes, saying that residents on the private roads often kept to themselves.
The former royal couple enjoyed walking in the parks near their previous temporary residence on Vancouver Island, Canada, and their new home is just a few minutes walk away from a canyon trail frequented by hikers lapping up the Southern California sunshine – albeit with COVID-19 face masks.
Property records show Harry and Meghan’s new mansion was built in 2003.
The sense of privacy was also a massive draw for Meghan’s friend and confidante Oprah Winfrey, who until yesterday was its most famous resident.
She has expanded her ocean-side Promised Land estate in Montecito from 42 acres to 70 and recently bought a house from actor Jeff Bridges because it neighboured hers.
Her 23,000-square-foot mansion has a library, 14 bathrooms, rose gardens and fountains in her landscaped grounds. There is also an outdoor theatre and man-made fishing lake.
Another local friend is Ellen DeGeneres, the chat show host who is going through a scandal over her alleged ‘mean’ behaviour on her daytime chat show.
She revealed recently that she had visited the Sussexes soon after Archie’s birth, had fed him and described Harry and Meghan as the ‘cutest couple.’ She and Meghan text each other.
Her main home with actress Portia de Rossi is in Beverly Hills, but she has four houses in Santa Barbara.
The ‘Scarface oligarch’ who sold Meghan and Harry their cut-price mansion: Mysterious Russian oligarch worth $500m has boasted about robbing the Russian banking system
By Will Stewart for MailOnline
The shadowy Russian ‘Scarface oligarch’ who sold Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new home in Santa Barbara is a Moscow tycoon who claims to be at war with the mafia and top Vladimir Putin officials.
Sergey Grishin, 54, who is believed to be worth $500million, has made extraordinary boasts about ‘robbing’ the Russian banking system – including a scam with disappearing ink.
Based in Los Angeles, the banker has begged Donald Trump for a US passport, saying he needs it to stay safe from Russians who are after him.
His complex relations with glamorous women – including a Russian described by the Gazprom-owned NTV channel as a ‘porn webcam model’ – have led to a number of legal clashes, including alleged death threats.
Sergey Grishin (pictured) is the shadowy Russian ‘Scarface oligarch’ who sold Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s new home in Santa Barbara
One of Grishin’s romantic partners was Anna Fedoseeva (pictured together), in her late 30s, who worked at an events agency and organised one of his birthday parties.
Grishin has a degree in Physics but his first business venture in Moscow reportedly involved home-baked cookies and hot dogs.
Nicknamed the ‘Scarface oligarch’ due to his earlier purchase of the ‘Scarface’ estate – where Tony Montana got blown to bits and Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein also stayed – he made several videos on his private Gulfstream jet which purported to confess to involvement to financial machinations in the Reds-to-Riches 1990s in Russia.
He wanted to explain how ‘a single person like me can cause the collapse of the Russian banking system’, apparently as a come-on to the US authorities.
His aim seemed to be to coax a US passport from the Trump administration by implying he had inside knowledge of Russian wrongdoing which would be of interest to the FBI.
In one video filmed on his jet, he claimed he made Russian bankers use a Polish-designed pen to write cheques for $2million.
The special ink could then be made to vanish, allowing him to rewrite the cheque for $250million, he claimed.
This scam was earlier blamed on the Chechen mafia, he claimed.
The larger alleged robbery involved financial manipulations via Estonia at the time when the Soviet Union was collapsing into chaos, he said.
He has praised Trump and his slogan about making America great again, but made clear he wanted a US passport because: ‘I want to be safe.
‘I am kind of under fire right now by the criminal world of Russia…by the top government officials of Russia, too. ‘
Grishin’s marriage to Anna Fedoseeva (left) ended in acrimony and he posted a picture of his bloodied face (right) claiming he had been the subject of domestic abuse
The oligarch later met former model Ekaterina Loginova (pictured together) and began a relationship with her, reports in Russia say
In his video message he did not explain the alleged threats from the mafia or Putin’s officials but said: ‘I don’t like this…I hate this. I do not deserve this.’
In fact, surprisingly little is known about the Grishin.
In 2008, Finans magazine dubbed him ‘one of the most mysterious Russian bankers’, who made his first money in selling electronics and petrol.
He has been married at least three times, according to the Russian media.
His latest bride was Anna Fedoseeva, in her late 30s, who worked at an events agency and organised one of his birthday parties.
She moved from St Petersburg to California and ‘he started showering her with presents’, according to one account.
‘Her life turned into a fairy tale – Bentley, furs, expensive hotels and resorts.’
They married in March 2017 and split up 11 months later, amid demands for a return of his ‘gifts’ say reports.
His lawyer Alexey Melnikov, later said: ‘My client has spent over $5million on her, the exact amount is hard to establish since the presents were bought at different times for rubles, US dollars, euro and Swiss francs. Over this time they had traveled to a lot of places.’
There followed legal action in which he demanded the return of an alleged loan from Anna and her business partner Jennifer Sulkess.
They started legal action accusing him of death threats and false imprisonment.
He posted a picture of his bloodied face claiming he had been the subject of domestic abuse.
Ekaterina Loginova (pictured) was described by the Gazprom-owned NTV channel as a ‘porn webcam model’
Sergey Grishin and US tycoon Warren Buffet playing poker. The Russian businessman has lobbied for a US passport
The oligarch later met former model Ekaterina Loginova and began a relationship with her, it is reported in Russia.
But later he filed a criminal lawsuit against an assistant who has worked for him for 25 years, Svetlana Grachyova, and Loginova.
He accused them of defrauding him while they countered that the banker allegedly threatened them with murder, jail and accused them of a lesbian plot, say reports in Russia.
Loginova was quoted as saying: ‘Grishin invited me, my eight-month-old son and my mother to live with him in the USA, and soon he proposed to me, giving me an expensive ring worth several million rubles.
‘He said he wanted to get married.’
She said: ‘In the summer of 2018, Grishin suddenly left for Moscow, explaining to his bride that he wanted to sue his ex-wife Anna Fedoseeva.
‘After his return, he began to behave extremely aggressively and completely inadequately.
‘Although before that, I heard strange things from him, for example, that he would become the next president of the United States.
‘But after this trip, he went off the rails: every day I heard how he would punish his ex-wife, put her in prison.
‘Frightened by the hatred and cruelty emanating from Grishin, I packed my things and returned to Moscow with my child and mother.’
An earlier wife Anna Grishina also became locked in legal dispute at the end of their relationship, it was reported in Moscow.