Harry and Meghan bought their dream home in California from a Russian oligarch who allegedly threatened to hack his wife.
Questions were raised last night about how much the couple knew before splashing £ 11 million into a nine bedroom mansion in the market for a bargain price.
The previous owner of Riven Rock Castle – as their new home is called – was Sergey Grishin, 54, nicknamed the "Scarface Oligarch".
He sold the seven acre property with pool, tennis court, guest rooms and stunning main house to the Sussexes for a big discount after asking for £ 26 million three years ago.
Grishin and his ex-wife Anna Fedoseeva are embroiled in a violent legal battle between claim and counterclaim.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle injected £ 11 million into the nine bedroom villa in California, previously owned by Sergey Grishin, 54 and nicknamed the "Scarface Oligarch".
Her lawsuit includes allegations that he held a gun to her head and knocked out her teeth – allegations he denies.
Other allegations include that Grishin also ran an alleged harassment campaign against his ex-wife's business partner, Jennifer Sulkess, alleging assault, battery, extortion, domestic violence, invasion of privacy and cyberstalking.
A spokesman for Grishin said he was "the unfortunate victim of fraud" committed by his ex-wife, "for which he was obliged to bring legal proceedings against her."
The spokesman added, "His legal claim is that Ms. Fedoseeva started a romantic relationship with another woman less than two months after they got married and then entered into a plan to cheat him out of millions of dollars about her and hers lifestyle Fund lover.
When this fraudulent venture failed, Ms. Fedoseeva made a number of false and highly defamatory allegations against Mr. Grishin – including physical threats and violence – which are wholly imaginative, hotly contested and unfounded in truth, and which Mr. Grishin is trusted to be proven completely false, when the matter goes to court. & # 39;
Grishin is jailed on charges of holding a gun to the head of his estranged wife Anna Fedoseeva and knocking out her teeth
Grishin (left and a picture he posted online claiming his wife beat him up, right) and his wife lived in the Santa Barbara home until mid-2017
Miss Sulkess, 30, told the Daily Mail last night: “I keep reading articles that say Harry and Meghan bought this house 'quietly'.
“I would try to keep it quiet if I were to buy a house from a Russian oligarch who… was in court for terrorizing his wife with a gun. He's a monster.
"It is clear that the consultants they have could not have done due diligence."
Former Home Secretary who became royal writer Norman Baker said, "I would advise you to study the contract very carefully and be sure that you have to be very careful in doing business with such people."
Royal Commentator Dickie Arbiter said, “They are no longer working members of the royal family – they should be financially independent, what they do now is entirely up to them.
You still have to live. The only question that needs an answer is why is something so big for two people and a baby. & # 39;
The seven hectare site with pool, tennis court, guest rooms and breathtaking main house was previously owned by Sergey Grishin (54)
Prince Harry and his wife are said to have lived in the house for six weeks
Representatives from the Sussexes did not respond to requests for comment last night.
Nestled in the private hills of Montecito, just outside Santa Barbara, the 16-bathroom home has been for sale since Grishin and his ex-wife Anna moved out in 2017.
After that, the marriage broke down and his alleged threats began. Grishin has denied all charges against him.
Surrounded by lush green gardens and overlooking the sea, the house has been described as a "hidden paradise".
The staggering cost of running your home
The Sussexes took out a multi-million pound mortgage to buy their spectacular home.
Sources say the couple are "proud" to have bought the home without family help.
Deeds show they have taken out a £ 7.25m mortgage due to be repaid by 2050, plus interest – indicating they have deposited around £ 3.8m on security.
Mortgage repayment costs them around £ 30,000 per month and they have an annual property tax of £ 220,000.
This is on top of the cost of maintenance, cleaning, personnel, and security and utilities, which can cost tens of thousands of pounds a month.
The couple are also paying back the £ 2.4 million spent renovating Frogmore Cottage in installments of £ 18,000 a month.
It's not clear how the Duke and Duchess will pay for all of this. When they gave up their royal duties, they emphasized that they wanted to become financially independent.
The stunning property has everything Harry and Meghan and their son Archie could ever need.
In addition to a pool surrounded by sun loungers, it has a wine cellar, play area and pub game room. The property is also secluded and only accessible via a private road.
A real estate agent who had been in the house for an hour said it was "for someone who never wants to leave the house".
Brett Buschbom said, “I walked through this house and an hour later I come out like 'wow'. The entire first floor felt like a resort with a steam room, massage room, sauna, hot tub, full bar, arcade and one of the most amazing Wine cellar and that was just the cellar. & # 39;
The Sussexes are said to have lived in the house for six weeks after moving 90 miles down the coast from a Los Angeles mansion they stayed in. They bought their new home on June 18 after taking out a 30-year mortgage for £ 7.25 million.
The property was sold by Grishins Rockwell LLC to a mysterious company called the Residential Real Estate Trust.
The trust is registered at the address of Andrew Meyer, California attorney, Meghan's business manager, whom she has used for years. A source said the couple "are proud to have started their own business and they say they bought it without the help of his family."
"They have a mortgage but they see this as their own place without relying on anyone else – a real family home," added the source. From its elevated position in the Santa Ynez Mountains, it enjoys spectacular views of the ocean – something the couple have reported they wanted in the past. Aerial photos give an impression of the size of the property, which covers 7.5 hectares.
As part of the sale and included in the price, the couple also bought a two-acre lot behind it to give them even more privacy.
The property, which is reported to have taken five years to build, is built via large gates and a wide alley paved with "hand-cut Santa Barbara stone" before a large archway leads visitors to the main entrance.
… but they could make millions every year
Public relations experts said the Duke and Duchess could become the highest-earning celebrity couple in the world – with up to a billion dollars in wealth in a decade.
As superstars of the international racetrack, they could charge six- or even seven-digit fees just to show up at an event.
In February, Prince Harry gave his first private address at a conference hosted by JP Morgan in Miami, where, according to some sources, he could have received a fee of up to £ 800,000.
Experts said becoming a brand ambassador for a global giant like Google or Apple could make the few tens of millions a year.
As a high-ranking king, Harry was prevented from making money off of his celebrity. But he will have received millions of pounds from his father and the estates of his mother Diana and the Queen Mother. His net worth is estimated at £ 30 million. Meghans is said to be around £ 4 million.
The gardens feature tiered rose gardens, tall Italian cypress trees, blooming lavender, and centuries-old olive trees, as well as a tennis court, spa with separate dry and wet saunas, and a five-car garage.
The previous owner had installed a pink princess-themed bedroom, stripper pole, and arcade game, though the Sussexes are believed to have been redecorated.
The property also has a two-bed, two-bath guest house, perfect for Meghan's mother, Doria, who is said to have been one of the first guests to visit the new home.
The exclusive community offers a number of good schools as well as A-list neighbors. Meghan, 39, reportedly described the property as her "haven" while Harry, 35, reportedly relaxed enough to walk around unshaven in shorts and t-shirts.
A source told The Sun, “Meghan wanted a place with a spectacular garden and the house has a huge pool and pond for them to enjoy.
“She was talking about getting an easel to sit outside and paint in quiet moments. Harry seems much more relaxed, walking around the house in shorts and a t-shirt, unshaven and friendly with the staff, they find him adorable.
"He's particularly relaxed, now they have a full security team and he's been talking about how impressed he is with the team that are former LAPDs and former soldiers."
Former Royal Correspondent for the Daily Mail Richard Mineards, now the Society's correspondent for the Montecito Journal, said: “I have been predicting for months that Harry would come here because polo will be one of the attractions.
“This is a diluted enclave and we're used to celebrities here. We treat them with respect. It's the perfect place to raise Archie, and Meghan seems to like the bohemian lifestyle so she'll enjoy it here.
"As they are slowly integrating into the community, they will of course want to get to know everyone, but there will be no problem with the pre-lock – we will give them their place."
Tim Pinkevich, who works for Grishin and approved the sale of the property for him, told the Mail last night that he couldn't talk about the sale because he signed a nondisclosure agreement.
What about paying the bill at Frogmore?
The couple have agreed to repay the £ 2.4 million spent on Frogmore Cottage
Harry and Meghan are under pressure to repay the taxpayer money they spent on renovating their UK base after it was discovered they had splashed into their California mansion.
The couple have agreed to repay the £ 2.4million spent on furnishing Frogmore Cottage after criticizing the cost of renovations before fleeing.
They agreed to pay the taxpayer £ 18,000 a month.
At this rate, however, it will take them 11 years to pay off the debt – but they have reportedly managed to find £ 3 million to deposit on the new castle in Santa Barbara.
Former Home Secretary Norman Baker, author of And What Do You Do? What the royal family doesn't want you to know, the couple accused of "taking the taxpayer away".
"The fact that he lives there is up to him, but he shouldn't get any money from the taxpayer," he said. "We're still paying for Frogmore, which is their base in the UK." Joe Little of Majesty magazine said it was a good thing that the couple "are now in property they own and are not seen being freely loaded in the way they perceived it to be".
But he added, "From a public relations perspective, it might have made sense to sort out the Frogmore involvement before it did what they do."
Ex-wife claims she was threatened by the owner of the house that Prince Harry bought … but tycoon says it is all a lie and SHE is trying to cheat on HIM
By Alison Boshoff for the Daily Mail
The proud owner of a Kalashnikov rifle, which he boasts of has been signed by its inventor. Sergey Grishin is not very well known in his native Russia.
He bluntly claimed that he "practically collapsed" the Russian banking system in the 1990s by committing "the largest bank fraud program ever" worth up to $ 60 billion (£ 46 billion).
Today he is likely to enjoy his newfound fame in the West as the man who sold the Duke and Duchess of Sussex their first California home.
Records show that Grishin, a heavy, gray figure who has lived in Santa Barbara for ten years, sold the Montecito property with an estimated loss of $ 10 million, possibly related to his ex-wife's legal action .
The billionaire oligarch, 54, known for admitting money laundering, faces allegations that he held a gun to his estranged wife's head and knocked her teeth out in a "violent domestic violence rampage."
Pictured: The Duchess of Sussex visits Justice For Girls in Canada
His ex-wife Anna Fedoseeva and her friend and business partner Jennifer Sulkess are demanding $ 125 million in damages. They accuse him of assault, battery, blackmail, domestic violence, invasion of privacy and cyberstalking.
Grishin, who shared a mysterious photo of his own bloody face online, is due to go on trial in October.
Ms. Fedoseeva from Moscow said last night: “I am afraid for my life and the safety of my loved ones. He is 100 percent still very dangerous and is on a war path with me. & # 39;
Both women have tried successfully to obtain injunctions against him on charges of death threats and the recruitment of fighters.
In a text message, he allegedly told his wife that he would "cut her tail off piece by piece until I reached your head" and added, "THAT HAPPENS."
Grishin and his wife lived in the Santa Barbara home until mid-2017 when they moved to downtown Los Angeles. Their marriage broke up in January 2018 and the threats soon began.
The oligarch is notorious for his role in the so-called "Russian laundromat", which may have brought him up to 60 billion US dollars. He has an apartment in Century Tower in Los Angeles, where Steve Bing, Liz Hurley's ex-boyfriend, killed himself in June.
The house was built in 2003. The property has extensive lawns, tiered rose gardens, tall Italian cypress trees, lavender in bloom, centuries-old olive trees, a tennis court, tea house, children's house and pool
A spokesman for Grishin (pictured) said he was "the unfortunate victim of fraud".
Grishin's ex-wife said of the news last night that Harry and Meghan had bought their former marital home: "It was an insane shock to hear they bought the house.
“It's a lot of money to give to someone, not like buying a car, and I would have thought they'd look at who's involved. I could hardly believe it. & # 39;
Miss Sulkess told the Mail, “I really can't believe that of all the people in the world who they could have bought a house from, they bought it from him. He's a monster.
“It is amazing to me that nobody would have checked his name – not even for five minutes on the Internet. A simple search on Google will throw up our case against him and the terrible abuse. He is a man who abuses women in every way, and Meghan is someone who stands up for women. & # 39;
Grishin, who started his career selling cookies and hot dogs, was the chairman of Rosevrobank when it was at the center of the Russian laundromat scandal.
The International Center for Corruption and Organized Crime Research, a consortium of international journalists, claims that Rosevrobank laundered Russian money through Moldova and Latvia using fictitious loan agreements between Shell companies. Up to 20 billion US dollars are said to have been laundered in this way.
Grishin and his ex-wife (pictured together) lived in the Santa Barbara home until mid-2017 when they moved to central Los Angeles
Grishin sold his stake in Rosevrobank in November 2018, years after the scandal. It was around this time that he was now uploading infamous videos to YouTube. In them he alleged further theft. He said, "I'll tell you how one person – that is, me – practically collapsed the Russian banking system in the 1990s."
In the video, which has since been deleted, he says: “I made it up. I stole a lot in Estonia and Russia. It was the biggest scam program because nobody knew exactly how much money was being stolen. & # 39;
The program worked via fake advice notes and "officially" informed the banks that money had been transferred. It would take up to a month for the bank to determine that the banknote was counterfeit. At that point, the funds had been moved to another location. It is estimated that four trillion rubles (£ 42 billion) were lost in this way.
In a second video, he bragged that he had "robbed Russia's banking system for the second time" by using missing ink to write checks.
He also appealed to President Donald Trump to grant him US citizenship. He owned two houses in Santa Barbara, one of which was known as the "Scarface Estate" because it was where scenes for the 1983 Al Pacino film were shot.
Grishin married Miss Fedoseeva in 2017. The couple were introduced by mutual friends in 2015.
She said, “We had friends in common. He asked her if I wanted to date him since he was single. My relationship was over and I thought why not have dinner? & # 39;
At first the romance was "good". However, the marriage crashed in January 2018 after he accessed their password-protected computer. Here he found & # 39; innocent selfies & # 39; from Anna with Miss Sulkess.
Miss Sulkess, a former PA for actress Kate Bosworth, had started a film company with Miss Fedoseeva, 12 Productions Limited, and they were making a film together.
According to court records, Sergey went "mad with jealousy over friendship" and filed for divorce the following month.
Court documents allege he started threatening both women and required Miss Sulkess to leave the company.
A text sent to his wife on February 27 this year read: “Are you familiar with the concept of operating without a budget? This is the worst that can happen to a person who opposes a clever, inventive, insidious enemy. It's not my choice, you took me there. Enjoy it. & # 39;
The next day he said to her: "Your whole life and the life of all your loved ones is at stake now."
The following week he referred to himself as a "killing machine".
He added that his first wife had been admitted to an asylum four times.
Both women were scared and Miss Sulkess said she was told he would try to bankrupt her if she didn't leave the company. Miss Fedoseeva released her from her position.
Next, Sergey asked Anna to repay him all the money he had given her and return all the watches and jewelry. In a lawsuit, she said he wrote her a picture of a Glock gun and that he had a 15-round clip of bullets: "13 for you and two for me, anyway."
Pictured: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex who moved to a neighborhood in Santa Barbara
Another lengthy text reportedly talked about using special bullets to make her buried in a closed coffin and suggested that he film her murder and stream it live on Instagram and YouTube.
"Imagine how nice it would be," he supposedly mocked.
The court records also state that on June 3, 2018, he invited Ms. Fedoseeva to meet him at her Moscow apartment. He said that a third party would be present and promised that he would not harm her.
According to her court record, once inside he pulled out a gun with a silencer, told her he was going to kill her, and ordered her to strip naked.
There was then allegedly a fight in which she grabbed the muffler and it punched her in the face before banging his head against her and cracking her teeth. She fled to a neighboring apartment and alerted them, filed a report with the police, and was hospitalized.
A text from Sergey the next day told her that a doctor could fix her with a "new Hollywood smile".
On June 19, Anna and Jennifer issued injunctions against him, and Sergey was ordered to surrender his weapons.
The alleged harassment continued, with allegedly posting pornographic and violent videos and setting up fake websites and social media accounts for the women.
Perhaps the scariest evidence the two women put forward is the alleged "Hitman" audio in which he himself recorded that he wanted to "get rid of some people" at a cost of 1 million euros per head.
The alleged hour and a half of audio in Russian were sent to Miss Fedoseeva's mother.
In November 2018, Anna was arrested and detained in Moscow after Sergey told authorities that she had cheated on him with 80 million rubles (£ 840,000). After ten days, the charges were dropped and she was released.
Anna seeks punitive damages up to $ 75 million and Jennifer seeks up to $ 50 million. Both accuse him of malicious and depressing behavior, saying that you are severely traumatized. Miss Fedoseeva says, “It's not about the money. I do not need money.
& # 39; We have a trial in October. I also have a trial against him in Russia to settle the divorce. & # 39;
She has received compensation from the Russian government for being falsely accused and imprisoned a year ago.
Sergey has hit back and sued the two women over $ 564,000 (£ 430,000), money he allegedly spent on funding their film company and production. Anna says the money was a gift during the marriage and quoted a text by Sergey which said: “Among other clauses there will be fake lawsuits. Do not forget that. Will you fight with me & # 39;
He also sued Miss Sulkess for defamation after she republished the YouTube videos in which he boasted of bank fraud. This lawsuit was dismissed.
Another legal lawsuit concerns his former fiancée Catherine Loginova. He accused her of fraud. She says he made death threats and is mentally ill, and claims that he has "three people" inside him.
Miss Sulkess said yesterday: “It is a struggle for survival. I've never seen anything like it, it's been a surreal couple of years. & # 39;
A spokesman for Mr. Grishin said last night: “Mr. Grishin is the unfortunate victim of a fraud committed by his former wife Anna Fedoseeva and which he was brought to trial against her.
His legal claim is that less than two months after they married, Miss Fedoseeva became romantically engaged to another woman and afterwards made a plan to scam him out of millions of dollars to fund her and her lover's lifestyle.
When this fraudulent attempt failed, Ms. Fedoseeva made a number of false and highly defamatory accusations against Mr. Grishin – including physical threats and violence – that are utterly imaginative, hotly contested, and have no basis in the truth at all, and which Mr. Grishin will trust as be proven completely wrong if the matter goes to court. & # 39;
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