World record set for house sale at £70m

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The Independent Online

A world record price for a house has been set in London, with the sale of a 12-bedroom mansion for £70m to a man who will not need a mortgage.

The buyer is Lakshmi Mittal, an Indian-born steel tycoon with close links to the Labour Party, and the property is located at 18/19 Kensington Gardens, an address known as billionaires' row. The house has space for a mere 20 cars and is a modest 55 times the size of the average home.

Turkish baths and a jewelled swimming pool are some of the features, according to The Sunday Times. More than 9,000 sq ft of the same marble used in the Taj Mahal is incorporated in the design.

In 2001 Mr Mittal was accused of trading party donations for favours from the Prime Minister. Mr Blair wrote a letter to the Romanian government at the time when Mr Mittal was trying to buy a state-owned steelworks. This was shortly after he gave £125,000 to the Labour Party. Mr Mittal is worth an estimated £3.5bn.

Mr Mittal exchanged contracts on the Kensington Gardens property last month. He bought it from another controversial Labour donor, Formula One racing chief Bernie Ecclestone. Mr Ecclestone purchased the property for £50m in 2001, reportedly as a surprise gift for his wife Slavica. The couple never moved in - it is thought Mrs Ecclestone didn't like it.

The previous record paid for a property was £62.7m for a home in Hong Kong in 1997.