Billionaire sheikh fills water tanks of 18th century UK mansion with Evian transported from France

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  • June 23, 2020
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A billionaire sheikh had the water tanks at his 18th-century Berkshire mansion filled with Evian mineral water shipped especially from France, court documents suggest.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the Emir of oil-rich Abu Dhabi, imported the famous drop as part of major renovations at Ascot Place, a grade II listed property valued at £60 million.

The layout came despite the fact the 71-year-old – who is president of the UAE and half brother of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour – only ever visits the pile for occasional day trips.

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The revelation was among evidence of the Emirati’s “profligate” lifestyle presented during a legal battle at London’s High Court.

Berkeley Square Holdings – a group of opaque companies registered to Sheikh Khalifa – has accused Lancer Property Asset Management of fraud by “siphoning off” some £32 million it received for managing their London estate.

The lawsuit alleges that Lancer’s fees were excessive and that directors had a “dishonest arrangement” with Mubarak Saad al-Ahbabi, the former chairman of the sheikh’s private office.

But Lancer’s directors, including founder Andrew Lax, deny the allegations and say the payments were all approved by the president and his family.

They have, in turn, counter-sued for £11 million in unpaid fees and have claimed unfair dismissal.

The Evian revelation is not the only startling admission of how the super-rich live offered during the case.

Court documents also show Sheikh Khalifa had a £5 million house with extensive gardens at London’s ultra-exclusive Ham Gate – but felt it was too small to house all his staff and attempted to buy a neighbour’s property.

Other papers suggest he owned several properties, worth an estimated £30 million, in an enclave overlooking Cannes but he abandoned them after he failed to obtain permission to build a palace there.

The case continues, with a trial set for next May.

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