Arrests linked with £70m mansion

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The Independent Online

Four men were arrested on Thursday over an alleged money laundering operation connected to the building of Britain's most expensive new home.

Four men were arrested on Thursday over an alleged money laundering operation connected to the building of Britain's most expensive new home.

Updown Court, set in 65 acres of land, worth a reputed £70m and linked with Crown Prince Abdullah of Malaysia, was raided at dawn by 30 Customs officers and detectives.

The raid came one day after Customs and Excise launched an action in the High Court and appointed a risk consultancy company to take over the running of the mansion. Two businessmen were arrested in Birmingham before the raid was launched and two other men were held later. Nobody was arrested at Updown Court, at Windlesham, Surrey, and the investigation did not involve the new owner, Customs and Excise said. Builders continued working on the home yesterday while officers searched the premises.

Contractors were handed a letter from risk consultants, saying: "Our appointment follows on actions taken by HM Customs and Excise in connection with certain individuals involved on the development of the property known as Updown Court."

The house has been re-built on the site of a Victorian mansion, which burned down after a gas explosion in 1987. The estate is owned by Heatherside Properties, registered in the British Virgin Islands.

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