Almost a decade later, the answer is less clear than it was at the time of the sale, the largest price paid for a Palm Beach home.
It’s been almost a decade since the sale, but the transaction is newsworthy again as new questions surround contacts between members of Trump’s administration and Russian government officials.
On Friday, a Rybolovlev spokesman said his client, who made his fortune in fertilizer potash, purchased the former mansion at of 515 N. County Road for his family’s trust.
“The property was acquired for investment purposes by the Rybolovlev family trust, as was clearly stated at the time of the purchase in 2008,” according to Brian Cattell, a New York-based spokesman for Rybolovlev.
But this is not what Rybolovlev’s representatives said in 2008, when Rybolovlev purchased the 62,000-square-foot mansion formerly known as Maison de L’Amitie, or House of Friendship.
In 2008, Rybolovlev characterized the purchase as a company investment: “This acquisition is simply an investment in real estate by one of the companies in which I have an interest,” Rybolovlev said at the time through a spokesman for Uralkali, the fertilizer company he previously owned.
Rybolovlev added that he didn’t plan to live in the United States.
Nonetheless, he went ahead and paid an exceptionally high, $50 million premium to Trump, then a real estate tycoon and reality TV host, for a property he never sought to live in, not even on a part-time basis.