Abramovich may turn landmark into residence

It’s not always easy finding things to buy when you are as rich as Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich.

But has the owner of Chelsea soccer club really purchased the Hotel du Cap?

Fest vets were biting their lips on the Croisette Tuesday over the rumor that Abramovich plans to turn the landmark into a private residence.

But if a deal has been done, it was being hotly denied Tuesday.

Responding to a rumor that has been in circulation for several weeks, and appeared in print in the New York Post recently, a spokesman for the hotel said: “The hotel hasn’t been sold. It has the same owner since 1970, Dr. Oetker.”

Certain hotels are important to for Cannes, but the du Cap is unique, the hotel of choice for many visiting VIPs, filmmakers and jury members, and has served as the site for exclusive parties and after-parties. Along with the Carlton and Majestic, the Hotel du Cap has become synonymous with the fest, and its closure would send folks scrambling for rooms, meeting places and party sites next year.

Not that the purchase would be a stretch for Abramovich — the 39-year-old tycoon is worth $20 billion and was recently ranked as Britain’s biggest mega spender in a report by Virgin Money.

As well as owning Chelsea, worth $200 million, he has a fleet of four yachts valued at more than $800 million.

“Foreign spenders like Abramovich have definitely created a sense of competition among the really wealthy,” a Virgin Money spokesman said.

Still, even if you are as loaded as Abramovich, how many Riviera pads do you need? He already owns a little place on Cap d’Antibes, the crumbling Chateau de Croix, which he started refurbishing recently.

Perhaps the tale will turn out to be a piece of Cannes Festival apocrypha. After all there are plenty of those.

But there’s no denying that the Russians are coming to the Cap, big time. Numerous properties have been snapped up in the past couple of years, report local estate agents, turning the area into a mini-enclave. Bijou villas with a sea view and a pool change hands for around e12 million.

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