The three houses on Cliffside Drive, perched side by side, total 22,000 square feet and offer breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Purchased for $ 70 million over a three-year period, their property has remained a mystery to neighbors in the exclusive Point Dume section of Malibu.
The largest, a 12,000 square foot mansion, was registered at an address in Switzerland. Another, a four-bedroom villa, was purchased by a company in the British Virgin Islands. And the third, a 7,600 square foot “large European-style estate” was acquired from a Delaware-based LLC.
The high-end properties are among more than a dozen Kings Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein of Jordan purchased through shell companies in the United States and abroad, revealed this week in the massive leak of documents financiers known as Pandora Papers.
The Malibu homes were purchased between August 2014 and September 2017, according to Redfin. King Abdullah also implemented a plan to demolish one of the existing homes and build a much larger one, according to a Washington Post investigation from the Pandora Papers mine of documents.
In some ways, the king’s desire to remain anonymous is trite. The rich, famous and powerful have long plunged millions of people into homes of choice while using layers of shell companies to hide their transactions.
“It’s no surprise,” said Compass luxury broker, Ron Wynn.
The desire to hide the real identity can be so great that an agent working on a sale may not know the real buyer, said Michael Nourmand, owner of luxury brokerage firm Nourmand & Associates. He said the situation is very rare.
Congress has sought to crack down on hidden buying. Earlier this year, he passed a law that requires true owners of shell companies to identify themselves or face criminal penalties. The measure aims to help stop the flow of illicit money into real estate; there has been no allegation that the King’s houses identified in the Pandora Papers were purchased illegally.
But for years, Malibu’s properties had won over the king’s neighbors and local government officials. They were left to speculate on the absent owner whose building plans, which included a new swimming pool and steel pergola, appeared to include space for safety details.
Here’s a more in-depth look at the King’s properties in Malibu:
29140 Cliffside Drive
Purchased for $ 12.2 million, the 2,700-square-foot home is the smallest and cheapest of the trio. Built in 1982, the four bedroom, four bathroom home sits on 1.1 acre land and has a chic and warm beach vibe. The white Mediterranean villa-style property is partially surrounded by dense foliage and includes garden paths and panoramic ocean views.
The King bought the property in July 2015. The seller was Annette Smith, who represented a decades-old family trust, according to reports. The King bought the property through a company called Setara Ltd., registered in the British Virgin Islands.
The king seems to have had big plans for the property. Last year, Setara submitted documents proposing a teardown, with a proposal to build a new house more than twice the size, according to the Post.
29150 Cliffside Drive
Fit for a king at 11,700 square feet, the mansion is the largest of the bunch, though the lot is only 1.2 acres. The house has six or seven bedrooms – listing sites differ on this – and at least seven bathrooms.
It was last bought in August 2014, for $ 33.5 million, according to Redfin. The king purchased the property through Nabisco Holdings, according to public records. . It is not related to the cookie company. The firm is located in Montreux, Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Geneva. The seller was Staz Trust, which was controlled by Steven Goldman and Azita Etaati.
Built in 1999 and renovated in 2005, the house has massive pillars, swept-in entrances and a hotel-style swimming pool. It has floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the ocean, a gym and a theater.
“This exquisite estate offers all that is magnificent in Malibu living,” according to its 2014 list. Chris Cortazzo of Compass – Malibu’s top luxury broker – had the list along with 29208 Cliffside. Cortazzo declined to comment.
29208 Cliffside Drive
At 1.3 acres, the property has the largest lot of the three and sits adjacent to Point Dume State Beach.
The home measures 7,700 square feet and has seven bedrooms and 7.5 bathrooms.
It sold for $ 23 million in September 2017, making it the King of Three’s most recent purchase. The buyer was listed as Timara Limited, registered in the British Virgin Islands. The seller was an LLC registered in Delaware.
In December 2020, This Clarke Inc., a Camarillo-based construction company, placed a mechanic’s lien on the property for $ 755,000. It was lifted a few weeks later, according to property records. This Clarke declined to comment.
Cortazzo’s listing for the property called it a “large European-style estate with 100 feet of panoramic ocean views as far as the eye can see.” The beige house has a light and airy feel – more like a relaxed beach pillow from a king.
The king also had construction plans for this house, the ICIJ reported. These include the new swimming pool, pergola and a large outdoor barbecue.