The Los Angeles Times has reported that Kola Aluko, a controversial Nigerian oil tycoon, has sold his Bel-Air, Los Angeles mansion, as Nigerian and European authorities investigate him for a series of money-laundering and fraud-related crimes.
Kola Aluko sold the home last week for $21.5 million, taking a $3 million loss after purchasing the sprawling residence in 2012 for $24.5 million. Aluko, 46, apparently sold the residence in an off-market transaction using a limited-liability company. An off-market sale in real estate refers to a property that is sold without any form of public advertising.
Aluko’s former home- a contemporary-style showplace in the 700 block of Sarbonne Road, Los Angeles, was designed by architect Paul McClean and built in 2011. The property sits on more than an acre, has a gated entrance, a subterranean garage and a 132-square-foot infinity-edge swimming pool among other features.
For a long time, Aluko had been linked as a business associate of Nigeria’s former Petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who is also currently under investigation by Nigerian and British authorities for money laundering and embezzlement. Shortly after she became oil minister in 2010, Alison-Madueke awarded Atlantic Energy- an unknown start-up co-founded by Aluko, a very lucrative contract to fund NNPC’s (the state oil company) operational costs in four lucrative oil blocks in which the NNPC owned a stake. In return for providing funding to the NNPC, Atlantic Energy was to lift the crude produced from the oil blocks, sell it, and thereafter pay the state-owned oil firm its share of profits. But there is an allegation and considerable proof that Atlantic Energy did not make any upfront funding but lifted crude and that a huge chunk of the proceeds from the sale of the crude oil did not make it to NNPC’s coffers and, by extension, the Nigerian treasury.