John Christodoulou

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

John Christodoulou
Born
Yiannakis Theophani Christodoulou

(1965-05-24) 24 May 1965 (age 56)[1]
Nicosia, Cyprus
NationalityBritish
OccupationProperty developer
Known forOwner, Yianis Group[2]
Children4[3][4]

Yiannakis Theophani "John" Christodoulou (born 24 May 1965) is a Monaco-based British billionaire property developer, the owner of Yianis Group, a privately owned company with a portfolio of residential, hotel, retail and leisure properties in the UK and Europe.[5] As of May 2021, his estimated net worth is £2 billion.

Early life[edit]

Christodoulou was born on 24 May 1965[1] in Nicosia, Cyprus. He came to London as a boy in 1974,[6] as his family fled the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

Career[edit]

After leaving school at 16, Christodoulou trained to become a diamond mounter before acquiring his first property in 1994.[7]

He started with a studio flat, and now owns extensive property in London Docklands through his Yianis Group.[8]

Christodoulou owns 100% of Yianis Group, which owns the London hotels Marriott West India Quay and the Canary Riverside Plaza (formerly Four Seasons Canary Wharf).[5] He also owns heritage asset Wool House, a grade II listed former Victorian warehouse in Whitechapel.[5]

The value of Christodoulou's property holdings increased by 25% in the 12 months to April 2019 to £1.5 billion, due to a buoyant London rental market.[9]

As of May 2021, his net worth is £2 billion, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2021.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Christodoulou lives in Monaco with his wife and four children.[3] He has a $50 million 74m yacht, Zeus, previously owned by Aidan Barclay.[10]

Charity[edit]

Yianis Christodoulou Foundation[edit]

Christodoulou is involved in philanthropic endeavours. Inspired by his own childhood, displaced from his homeland as a child, he founded the Yianis Christodoulou Foundation (YCF),[11] which seeks to support disadvantaged children and their families in the UK and abroad. The charitable foundation has a special focus on poverty alleviation and education.

Christodoulou has donated £1 million to the eponymous philanthropy organisation.[12]

The property magnate has also hosted high-profile fundraising events, such as the 2017 Star Ball at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate where over £1.5 million was raised.[13]

In December 2018, Christodoulou's foundation ran a Christmas card competition, with the cash prizes going to a number of Cyprus primary schools for teaching resources and new infrastructure.[14]

COVID-19

The Yianis Christodoulou Foundation funded the distribution of free food packages offered to the homes of 355,000 members of the Cypriot community in the UK for the in need, vulnerable and elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic.[15] YCF distributed 6,107 International Workers' Day appreciation energy snack-packs to health professionals and workers across all public hospitals in Cyprus.[16] The eponymous philanthropy organisation also funded 6,000 individual care packs for the NHS staff at The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London.[17]

Honours and awards[edit]

Christodoulou won the Foreign-based Cypriot Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 award from IN Business Magazine.[18][19]

Christodoulou is the president of the Monaco and Cyprus Jubilee Sailing Trust.[20]

Controversies[edit]

Christodoulou's business practices have attracted considerable media attention. The Times notes that "his company has been challenged by residents of a luxury development of more than 300 flats who complained they were being charged sky-high service charges and unreasonably high sums for repairs."[3] This is a reference to Canary Riverside, where Christodoulou was stripped of day-to-day management control over the property in October 2016, with a professional court appointee installed to act in the best interests of the site. Leaseholders were able to prove fault against CREM, a subsidiary company,[21][22][23] that they had suffered over many years due to poor management of the estate, in particular a lack of transparency surrounding how their money was being used.[24] Tribunal judges found that Marathon Estates, the Christodoulou-appointed managing agent, "has been unable to produce accurate financial information on time, including budgets and accounts, has not engaged with leaseholders and has a muddled hierarchy of command."[25]

Similar complaints of estate mismanagement by Christodoulou leaseholders at 1 West India Quay have emerged in a Sunday Times feature on the so-called leasehold property scandal.[24] Leaseholders there have taken legal action against Christodoulou over expensive energy bills, raising concerns that they have been subsidising his commercial interest on the site.[24][26] In May 2014, they won the right to form a recognised residents' association, despite Christodoulou having hired a QC and spent £74,000 in trying to block their efforts.[27]

Christodoulou has also been named in parliament, with former MP for Poplar and Limehouse Jim Fitzpatrick claiming that the litigation and threats faced by the court-appointed manager at Canary Riverside are "little short of harassment".[28] A former secretary of the 1 West India Quay residents' association has been subjected to a defamation threat by Christodoulou's lawyers, as have 100 leaseholders at neighbouring Canary Riverside.[25] In July 2018, his lawyers unsuccessfully sought to prevent the then local MP, Jim Fitzpatrick, from raising the case of Canary Riverside in parliament. It had been claimed that Fitzpatrick's intervention could breach sub judice rules.[29]

In April 2020, The Guardian reported that tenants at Olympic House, Simpson House and St John's Court in Somerford Grove, east London, were denied a 20% rent cut, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and their allegedly precarious employment situations. The renters are said to have been told by the lettings agent, acting on behalf of the three corporate landlords all “majority owned” by Christodoulou, that the request was “unreasonable” and “unrealistic”.[30] The agent had suggested that “any drop in tenants’ income would be minimised by a reduction in spending on holidays, entertainment, travel, clothes and lunches.” London mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: “This is a prime example of how unrealistic it is to expect landlords & tenants to sort difficulties out amongst themselves,” and that the story is “exactly why” he is calling on government to “introduce immediate measures to protect tenants who go into arrears” because of the public health emergency.[31] These tenants formed an advocacy group Somerford Grove Renters with the London Renters Union.[32] They were later threatened with legal action by the lettings agent and alleged harassment and surveillance by agent-hired security guards.[33] After continuing to make public statements about the situation, several tenants received eviction notices in August in what Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville called a "revenge eviction" and "a direct response to [the tenants] seeking greater security for themselves and their neighbours at a time of crisis."[34]

On 21 September 2020, around 70 rental and leasehold tenants protested outside Canary Riverside Plaza, which is part of the upmarket mixed use Canary Riverside scheme owned by the Yianis Group, to push back against unfair practices by Christodoulou and the government's ending of the eviction ban. Joined by local MP Apsana Begum, the protesters hand-delivered a letter to Christodoulou at his company's headquarters.[35][36]

On 9 November 2020, former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott tabled an early day motion in parliament urging John Christodoulou to negotiate "fair and reasonable rent adjustments" with affected tenants in Somerford Grove. It noted that "far from entering into negotiations, residents have been harassed and spied on".[37]

In July 2021, it was reported that a tribunal had ordered Christodoulou to compensate four of his former tenants in Somerford Grove £19,000 for renting them properties as illegal HMOs.[38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Rich List 2020 profiles 51-100". Sunday Times. 16 May 2020.
  2. ^ "Cyprus: the Eurozone's comeback kid". The Economist. December 2016.
  3. ^ a b c "Tax haven rich list part 2: Billionaires with a grip on Britain from abroad". The Times. Retrieved 19 May 2020.
  4. ^ "John Christodoulou". monacowhisky-spiritsclub.com. n.d. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "About us". yianis.com. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  6. ^ a b "From Refugee to Rich List 2021". Sunday Times. 21 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Estates Gazette Rich List 2015". Estates Gazette. 30 October 2016. Archived from the original on 13 May 2020. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  8. ^ "From studio flat to being richer than McCartney: tycoon is new entry in Sunday Times Rich List". Evening Standard. 30 April 2012. Archived from the original on 31 May 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Docklands property tycoon sees value of empire rise". Evening Standard. 7 February 2019. Archived from the original on 25 September 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Zeus yacht". superyachtfan.com. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Yianis Christdoulou Foundation". yianischristodouloufoundation.com. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  12. ^ "John Christodoulou donates £1 million to the Yianis Christodoulou Foundation for children". bdaily.co.uk. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Yianis Christodoulou Foundation and the amazing night in Manchester for charity". parikiaki.com. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  14. ^ "Βραβεύτηκαν μαθητικές χριστουγεννιάτικες κάρτες (εικόνες)". philenews.com. 24 December 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
  15. ^ "The Yianis Christodoulou Foundation founder helps UK Cypriot community". cyprus-mail.com. 17 April 2020. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  16. ^ "John Christodoulou of the Yianis Christodoulou Foundation thanks all the public hospital workers in Cyprus". cyprustimes.com. 28 April 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  17. ^ "20 Pallets of Care Packs a Total of 6000 boxes were delivered to the Royal London Hospital by Yianis Christodoulou Foundation". parikiaki.com. 20 May 2020. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  18. ^ "6th Annual IN Business Awards". goldnews.com.cy. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  19. ^ "Yianis the entrepreneur". city.sigmalive.com. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  20. ^ "John Christodoulou Appointed JST President of Monaco and Cyprus". jst.org.uk. Retrieved 11 January 2019.
  21. ^ Graham, Hugh (5 February 2017). "Service charges: what you need to know". Sunday Times. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  22. ^ "Battle for Canary Riverside resumes after court appointed manager steps down". Leasehold Knowledge Partnership. 7 June 2019. Archived from the original on 19 October 2020. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Riverside CREM 1 Limited". Companies House. Retrieved 28 May 2020.
  24. ^ a b c Lees, Martina (14 April 2019). "Leasehold: why every homeowner should be worried". Sunday Times. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  25. ^ a b "John Christodoulou minions get the boot at Canary Riverside". Leasehold Knowledge Partnership. 1 October 2016. Archived from the original on 19 January 2021. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  26. ^ "Tribunal to rule on whether West India Quay leaseholders are subbing the energy costs of the hotel below". Leasehold Knowledge Partnership. 19 December 2018. Archived from the original on 24 November 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  27. ^ "West India Quay's victory against £74,560 legal onslaught … for a recognised residents' association". Leasehold Knowledge Partnership. 24 May 2014. Archived from the original on 30 October 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  28. ^ "Billionaire John Christodoulou and his lawyer David Marsden accused of 'little short of harassment' of court-appointed managing agent". Leasehold Knowledge Partnership. 22 December 2016. Archived from the original on 26 November 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  29. ^ "Canary Riverside's lawyers at Trowers & Hamlins in 'ill-conceived' bid to thwart Parliamentary debate". Leasehold Knowledge Partnership. 25 July 2018. Archived from the original on 27 October 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  30. ^ "Tenants told to use lunch and holiday savings to pay full rent". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 8 February 2021. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  31. ^ "This is a prime example of how unrealistic it is to expect landlords & tenants to sort difficulties out amongst themselves. It's exactly why I'm urging the Govt to introduce immediate measures to protect tenants who go into arrears because of #COVID19". Sadiq Khan. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  32. ^ "Timeline & media coverage - Somerford Grove Renters". Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  33. ^ Hosea, Leana (22 August 2020). "Hackney tenants 'targeted' after asking for rent reduction". BBC News. Archived from the original on 14 March 2021. Retrieved 26 September 2020.
  34. ^ Segalov, Michael. "Tenants Are Facing 'Revenge Evictions' After Demanding a Rent Reduction". Vice. Archived from the original on 6 January 2021. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  35. ^ Sheridan, Ed. "'Happy Not Moving Out Day': Hackney renters picket billionaire landlord's luxury hotel". Hackney Citizen. Archived from the original on 29 July 2021. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  36. ^ York, Melissa (7 October 2020). "Will rising homelessness be the legacy of Covid-19?". The Times. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  37. ^ "Renters rights in the covid-19 pandemic". parliament.uk. Parliament. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  38. ^ Brown, Rivkah. "A Group of Renters Just Won £19,000 From Their Billionaire Landlord – And They're Just Getting Started". Vice. Archived from the original on 23 July 2021. Retrieved 23 July 2021.