Yiannakis Theophani Christodoulou
24 May 1965
|Known for||Owner, Yianis Group|
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. As of May 2021, his estimated net worth is £2 billion.
After leaving school at 16, Christodoulou trained to become a diamond mounter before acquiring his first property in 1994.
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). He also owns heritage asset Wool House, a grade II listed former Victorian warehouse in Whitechapel.
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.
As of May 2021, his net worth is £2 billion, according to the Sunday Times Rich List 2021.
Yianis Christodoulou Foundation
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), 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.
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.
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. YCF distributed 6,107 International Workers' Day appreciation energy snack-packs to health professionals and workers across all public hospitals in Cyprus. The eponymous philanthropy organisation also funded 6,000 individual care packs for the NHS staff at The Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel, London.
Honours and awards
Christodoulou is the president of the Monaco and Cyprus Jubilee Sailing Trust.
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." 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, 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. 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."
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. 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. 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.
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". 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. 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.
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”. 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. These tenants formed an advocacy group Somerford Grove Renters with the London Renters Union. They were later threatened with legal action by the lettings agent and alleged harassment and surveillance by agent-hired security guards. 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."
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.
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".
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