Sale of Sentosa villa scrapped after China buyer arrested

The sale of a $23.8 million bungalow along Lakeshore View in Sentosa Cove was scrapped after the would-be-buyer was arrested for her involvement in a Ponzi scheme, reported The Business Times.

In October 2015, the owners of the luxury property granted an option to purchase to Zhang Min, President of China’s Yucheng Group, the parent company of Ezubao.

She exercised the option that same month and subsequently lodged a caveat in November to register her intention to purchase the bungalow.

However, the sellers weren’t able to contact her during the purchase deadline, and Zhang cancelled the caveat in February, shortly after it was reported that she was one of the executives of Yucheng Group and Ezubao who were arrested in China for swindling investors.

Ezubao was one of China’s largest online peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders that was recently closed by authorities after it amassed 50 billion yuan (S$10.8 billion) from around 900,000 investors. The company reportedly enticed victims to invest by promising them high interest rates of between nine percent and 14.6 percent, but most of the businesses and projects they were investing in turned out to be non-existent.

Experts estimate that Zhang would have forked out a five percent deposit of the property’s purchase price (about $1.19 million), which would have gone to the sellers after she failed to complete the deal.

If the transaction had gone through, the Sentosa villa would have fetched $23.8 million ($2,775 psf), based on its land area of 8,576 sq ft.

The property fronts the Serapong Golf Course and overlooks the sea. It sits on a site with a remaining lease term of 89 years (as of October 2015).

Since the deal didn’t materialise, the bungalow’s owners are once again looking for buyers. It is owned by three siblings from Hong Kong, one of whom is a Singapore citizen, while the other two are UK citizens.

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