Napoles Ritz condo being sold cheap?
MANILA, Philippines – Looking for a place to stay in downtown Los Angeles? How about Jeane Napoles' swanky Ritz Carlton condominium?
Rappler has found out that the condominium owned by Jeane, daughter of the controversial Janet Lim Napoles, is quietly being shopped to prospective buyers.
The older Napoles is the alleged mastermind of a multi-billion-peso pork barrel and Malampaya fund scams. Napoles faces plunder raps, alongside several politicians.
The unit is currently priced US$200,000 - 300,000 (roughly P9 million to P13.5 million) below its original price of $1.475 million (P36,875,000). Although public showings will not begin until next week, it is expected to be sold quickly due to the popularity of these residences.
Ever since the unit was first publicly advertised on several real estate websites on September 23, it has been "pocket listed" and offered only to select buyers, according to a real estate agent in Los Angeles.
In the US and Canada, pocket listings occur when the seller enters into an agreement with the listing agent to advertise the property only to select parties to protect the seller’s privacy. Celebrities who try to sell their multimillion-dollar homes usually take this route to eliminate inquiries for non-serious parties.
Online real estate listings like Downtown Loft Connection and Spot Property have also indicated that the property has been withdrawn or taken off the market.
PH properties being sold too?
The Los Angeles property isn't the only one the Napoles family is trying to sell discreetly. In an ABS-CBN report, one of the lawyers of the pork barrel scam whistleblowers said Napoles is trying to sell houses, condominium units, and even vehicles in the Philippines.
Lawyer Stephen Cascolan told ABS-CBN that the properties were being sold at very low prices. Those up for sale include a house in Forbes Park and another in Magallanes Village.
Rappler earlier reported on Napoles' techniques in acquiring properties — by listing them under different names. The Forbes Park and Magallanes properties are listed under La Roca Enterprises Inc. Napoles uses the same strategy with her businesses.
Residents in Pacific Plaza Towers told Rappler that Napoles' vehicles were slowly disappearing from the building parking area. Napoles owns 2 units in the upscale Pacific Plaza.
Lawyers of the pork barrel scam whistleblowers plan to ask the Land Registration and Land Transportation Authority to bar the sale of Napoles' properites.
Napoles is currently detained in a Laguna fort for serious illegal detention charges. Over 400 bank accounts connected to Napoles, her family members, and staff were ordered frozen by the Court of Appeals in August.
Napoles' lawyer, Lorna Kapunan, told ABS-CBN that her client has the right to sell her properties because she is not yet convicted. Kapunan earlier called the freeze order on Napoles' bank accounts "despotic."
READ: Despotic, Kapunan says of freeze order - Rappler.com