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Warren Buffett, Johnny Depp buy Greek islands

Updated: 2015-07-20 08:57

ATHENS - US tycoon Warren Buffett and Hollywood actor Johnny Depp are the latest adds to a long line of wealthy businessmen and stars who have purchased Greek islands, according to the London-based real estate firm Proto Organization Ltd.

Buffet along with Italian millionaire Alessandro Proto, a shareholder of the New York Times newspaper, bought the island of St. Thomas, which covers an area of 1.2 sq km, in the Gulf of Egina near Piraeus port, the firm announced this weekend. The acquisition was concluded last week for a total price of 15 million euros ($16.25 million).

At the same time Johnny Depp became the owner of a small islet in Greece's Aegean Sea named Strongylo for the price of 4.2 million euros.

"At this time, Greece is a prey very coveted by several investors. After the new loan made by the EU it is clear that this is the best time to invest in Greece," Steven Taylor, a spokesperson of Proto Organization Ltd told Xinhua.

Buffett and Proto are going to do a real estate development on the island, according to Taylor.

As a unique pole of attraction for millions of international visitors, Greece is considered among the top destinations to invest. There are more than 40 private islands available for sale.

In two of the most publicized purchases in recent years in 2013 Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev acquired Skorpios, the private island owned by Athina Onassis Roussel, heir of late shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.

Also in 2013 the Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani purchased a complex of six islets in the Ionian Sea in western Greece.

Although the political uncertainty and instability "froze" any attempt to finalize any property dealing in the last months, investors have not lost their interest.

Real estate agents warn that due to bureaucracy it takes time to finalize procedures for the acquisition of a Greek island.

There are more than 30 documents and certifications need to be filled for the purchase of a private island, among them licenses from the Ministry of Defense and Infrastructure, evaluation reports from the archaeological agency that there are not any antiquities in the island, and from the forest office that the area is not protected.

Among the celebrities who have expressed also interest in buying a Greek island this summer are Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who are reportedly preparing to buy the Greek island of Gaia located in the Echinades complex in the Ionian Sea.

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