Athlone House, Mikhail Fridman’s monument to the power of Russian oligarchs

Spreading over five acres of land, Athlone House is one of the largest Victorian estates in the Highgate enclave, popular with the super-wealthy.

Prime real estate, owned by Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, is minutes from Bishop’s Avenue in north London – a road home to so many wealthy residents it’s been dubbed ‘billionaire row’ “.

Athlone House has been a monument to the power of Russian oligarchs since it was bought by the co-founder of Alfa-Bank, one of his country’s largest private banks. But as Putin’s aggression continues in Ukraine and scrutiny intensifies, it risks becoming an epitaph of their presence in the capital’s luxury real estate market.

Fridman, Britain’s eleventh richest man, no doubt wanted to feel connected to the mansion’s illustrious past when he bought it for £65million in 2016.

First built in the mid-1880s for Edward Brooke, MP and chemist, Athlone House has housed some of the most influential industrialists in British business history. It was later purchased by Francis Reckitt, son of entrepreneur Isaac Reckitt, the founder of what became blue chip giant Reckitt Benckiser.

Ukrainian-born Fridman, who declined to comment, previously said ‘it was like fate’ that he was drawn to the same Victorian grandeur which had inspired other manufacturers. But as Russian tanks and soldiers pile into Ukraine, the dream of residing in London society could crumble.

While Fridman has spoken out against Putin’s invasion and hit back strongly at allegations of ties to the Russian president, his assets have been frozen by the EU and he cannot travel between countries in the bloc.

In a message to staff at his London-based private equity firm LetterOne on Monday, he said: “War can never be the answer.” But as city councilors end their relationship with Russian oligarchs, massive reputational damage is inflicted – and careful scrutiny of the assets they own in Britain.

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