A luxe Bel Air estate has just popped up on the market — and it has a history as juicy as a made-for-TV movie.
It all started when Nigerian energy business magnate Kola Aluko picked up the place in 2012 for $24.5 million; Aluko subsequently offloaded the home to VistaJet founder and chairman Thomas Flohr in an off-market deal as repayment for $21.6 million in exclusive services he had accrued on one of the company’s private planes.
Turns out, Aluko wound up being accused of corruption; it was alleged he acquired $165 million worth of real estate and a superyacht with profits generated in Africa’s largest oil producer by bribing a senior Nigerian minister. Flohr’s newly acquired house being one of these holdings, it was in jeopardy of being confiscated.
Though Aluko lost some of his assets, Flohr was allowed to keep the Bel Air house; the Swiss multimillionaire aviation entrepreneur struck a deal with U.S. authorities in April 2022 to resolve the dispute and allow him to retain ownership of the mansion known as “Villa Sarbonne” for a cash payment of $16 million. Now it’s on the market, following an extensive “reimagination” by Plus Design Studio, asking a whopping $63.5 million.
Tucked away down a lengthy gated driveway, on a little over an acre of land dotted with olive trees, the contemporary two-story structure was originally built in 2011 on spec by Nile Niami and designed by his frequent architectural collaborator Paul McClean.
Inside, six bedrooms and 10 baths are sprawled across 15,000 square feet of living space adorned throughout with soaring ceilings, a “sculptural” spiral staircase, travertine and stone walls, designer lighting and raw walnut millwork.
Described in the listing as “inspired by California’s extraordinary desert landscape” — and referred to a “true holistic exhibition” by the new designer — the mansion features expansive walls of glass offering seamless indoor-outdoor environs, as well as sweeping ocean and city lights views.
Lavish amenities include an infinity pool and spa, wood-paneled library, bar and cigar lounge, temperature-controlled wine cellar and plush movie theater; there’s also an attached guesthouse, roof terrace, and wellness center equipped with a gym, yoga deck, steam shower and massage room.
Among the other highlights: a spacious living room boasting a floor-to-ceiling fireplace and formal dining room, along with a family room that connects to a gourmet eat-in kitchen outfitted with high-end appliances and a separate caterer’s kitchen.
Upstairs, the fireside master retreat sports dual baths and walk-in closets; and the lushly landscaped grounds host the aforementioned 132-foot pool and spa, plus an al fresco lounging space laced with fire-pits, an outdoor kitchen outfitted with a pizza oven and four-car garage flanked by a motorcourt.
In addition to his for-sale property, Flohr also owns another massive Bel Air compound that he paid $23.5 million for back in 2013.
The listing is held by Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency.