Russian magnate sues for full refund of $10.5m Singapore unit

This article is more than 12 months old

Bought for $10.5 million, the 315 sq m apartment at the Eden Residences Capitol Singapore next to St Andrew's Cathedral is one of the priciest units in the property scene here.

But Russian magnate Sergey Vbornov, the ex-chief of Russia's second largest diamond producer, wants out of the 2013 deal for the unit.

Mr Vbornov, 59, who holds dual Russian and St Kitts-Nevis citizenships, is suing vendor Capitol Residential Development in the High Court for the return of monies paid to date amounting to some $8.89 million in sale price, stamp duties costing $1.88 million and $6,857 in conveyancing fees.

This is one of the largest lawsuits over housing defects here. The case is noteworthy because Mr Vbornov is seeking a full refund, instead of compensation to make repairs.

Mr Vbornov, who collected the keys to his apartment on Oct 31 last year, alleged that the unit is "unfit for habitation and does not comply with the promised luxury standard" nor did it live up to the idea of "paradise found" as allegedly marketed.

Capitol, defended by lawyers from Allen & Gledhill, contest theclaims - pointing out that the unit was not sold under the agreement as a "luxurious apartment" and/or "paradise found".

Court documents also show that Mr Vbornov hired inspectors who reported "numerous defects".

The claim papers filed by his lawyers from Infinitus Law Corporation list 20 pages of the purported defects - ranging from "marked and damaged" air-conditioning compressors in the common rear lobby, to "poor finishing" in the living area.

Mr Vbornov claims the "unit has not been constructed to a high standard or to a reasonable standard", and attempts to rectify have failed given the inherent nature of the defects. He added he is unable to rent out the unit for up to $25,000 a month because of its alleged condition.

In its defence, Capitol said that it carried out works to the unit between March and October last year to address feedback on the alleged defects. It stressed the works were conducted out of goodwill and without admission of liability.

Capitol said that since handing over the unit, it has been unable to access the unit to verify the alleged defects or carry out rectification works.

The case is expected to go to trial next year.