UPDATE: Steve Jordon of The World-Herald reports that the claims regarding Warren Buffett are false. He states:
His (Buffett’s) office said Monday that reports from Greece that Buffett and Italian real estate agent Alessandro Proto together purchased the island of St. Thomas, southwest of Athens, are incorrect.
The newspaper Proto Thema reported the sale, and various news agencies repeated it, including the Athens-Macedonian News Agency and a Newsweek website.
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See the original story below
Warren Buffett teamed up with Italian real estate agent Alessandro Proto to buy an island near the Port of Piraeus.
The ongoing economic crisis in Greece has made the country an attractive destination for real estate developers. Johnny Depp has reportedly bought an island, while Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are also rumored to be interested, writes Alice Milliken for Newsweek.
Warren Buffett partners with Proto in real estate development
Buffett, who is worth an estimated $72.3 billion, bought the island of St Thomas together with Proto Enterprises. The $16.25 million deal was completed last Thursday.
Piraeus, the largest Greek sea-port, is located near the capital, Athens. St Thomas measures 1.2 square kilometers and is currently uninhabited, according to Private Island Online, a site which lists private islands from around the globe.
St Thomas is 45 minutes from Athens by boat, and 20 minutes from Corinth. The Athens-Macedonian News Agency (ANA-mpa) reports that Buffett and Proto are planning a real estate development on the island.
A spokesperson for Proto told Spiegel Online: “Greece is currently very attractive for investment in the development of real estate.”
Not just Warren Buffett: Greek islands an attractive investment in current climate
Private Islands Online describes the Greek islands as "the ultimate status symbol, evoking images of sunglass sporting shipping magnates sipping champagne on the deck of enormous yachts. In reality, Greek islands are relatively affordable, costing as little as $2m [€1.8m] - less than a ski chalet in Aspen or a walk up on the Upper East side."
Buffett is one of a number of international investors moving into Greek real estate. ANA-mpa also ran a report detailing Johnny Depp's purchase of the island of Strogglio for $4.55 million.
Given the plight of the Greek economy, and the declining value of the euro against the dollar and the pound, interest in Greek real estate is on the rise among international investors. According to the Xinhua news agency, there are over 40 private islands for sale in Greece.
Greek bureaucracy can slow the purchase of an island, with 30 different documents and certifications required for a sale to be completed, but the investment opportunity is proving to be popular with wealthy individuals from around the world.
In 2013 Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev bought the private island of Skorpios, and the Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani bought 6 small islands in the Ionian Sea.
The only question is - will they be able to pay with Dramchas?