Secret luxury homes: how the ultra-rich hide their properties

When representatives of a young, wealthy Middle Eastern woman approached Tim Macpherson at the Mayfair office of estate agent Carter Jonas recently, he told them he had just the home for her: a period house costing more than £50m in one of London’s most upmarket areas.

The historic property had never had a For Sale sign outside nor been listed with any agent, though its owners had quietly informed Macpherson they wished to sell. You will not find its details or photographs online and the buyer went through a “hugely expensive exercise” to purchase it through a company structure that makes her own identity difficult to ascertain. She did not even visit the property until several of her entourage had been first.

The woman passed anti-money laundering checks and is not what regulators call a “politically exposed person” who may be vulnerable to corruption in their home country, Macpherson says. But her

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