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The mysterious real estate agent who sells Aegean islands

27 July 2015 / 12:07:25  GRReporter
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Mysterious Italian agent Alessandro Proto, who "sold" half of the Aegean islands, does not seem to easily surrender, the Greek newspaper Ethnos reports.

He first disseminated the false information, as it turned out later, that he had sold the small island of Strongilo to actor Johnny Depp. Then he reported that the couple Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were considering buying another small "paradise" in the Ionian Sea, namely the isle of Gaia that is part of the archipelago Echinades. His third move was to announce that together with American tycoon Warren Buffett they had bought the island of Agios Thomas in the Gulf of Aegina.

 

Photo: protothema.gr

The resounding announcements sparked media attention worldwide but a flood of denials followed them. Warren Buffett made a statement, defining the news disseminated by Proto’s associate as "total fabrications." The office of Alessandro Proto was not late in responding and in an equally bold manner at that. Proto’s assistant Federica Sala accused the media of misrepresenting the statements of the agent. She noted that Warren Buffett had expressed interest in buying the island, even referring to one of his favourite sayings.

Immediately thereafter, Proto’s agency changed course and announced that it had made the announcements to "count the responses" and that, due to them, investors would rush to seize the opportunity and begin to invest their money in Greece again. Commenting for Ethnos newspaper, the agent’s associate, Federica Sala, indicated that his initiative "has informed the whole world that there are investors who are interested in doing business in Greece."

She emphasized that Alessandro Proto had visited Greece several times and that currently he was "in talks" to invest an amount of 100-150 billion euro in infrastructure projects, especially in ports and highways.

"Europe just should not leave Greece to collapse," said Proto to an Italian edition, adding, "We cannot allow Greece to go bankrupt."

 

Photo: ANDREA RAFFIN/COLEMAN-RAYNER/KIKA

Sala told Ethnos that Proto’s real estate agency "works with famous customers, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Madonna, Johnny Depp, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney." According to her, precisely Clooney became the reason for Proto’s subsequent glory when it became known that he would carry out the sale of the actor’s villa near Lake Como in Italy, because his girlfriend at the time Elisabetta Canalis was tired of the paparazzi’s "offensives".

The information that Porto had purchased a villa in Malta worth 100 million euro at the expense of Tom Cruise had appeared in a similar and unexpected way. Local real estate agents had denied the information, noting that there was "no house of such a value on the island."

After the "bomb" associated with Clooney and Cruz, Alessandro Proto has always appeared in the media as "the Italian real estate agent with famous customers." And ever since then, Proto "has taken on" the case whenever a celebrity considers buying a property.

The interesting thing about the mysterious personality of the agent is that no one has been able to confirm any information associated with him. In the majority of cases, his contacts with the media are through written messages. He gave only four interviews, because, as he explained in one of them, "I want to concentrate only on my work."

The same happened when Ethnos newspaper atempted to contact him. His assistant Federica Sala avoided giving details about his professional and personal life, in which "no one is interested," as she stressed.

According to her, Proto entered the real estate market in 1997 at the age of 23, although "he intended to engage in the publishing business."

According to Proto’s biography available on the internet, he is 37 years old, a resident of Switzerland. He graduated with honours in finances at the Bocconi University in his hometown of Milan (which is not confirmed) and began his career as a door-to-door seller of encyclopaedias.

Then he worked in the New York office of Penguin publishing house and subsequently ended up in Argentina where his occupation was not clear. His transition to the real estate business is not clear either. How he has established the firm Proto that is housed in a luxurious office in London is even more obscure, since he claims to be "a man of humble origins."

What Proto cannot deny is that about two years ago the Italian Securities and Exchange Commission (Consob) accused him of disseminating false information and of market manipulation. The fine imposed on him and his companies was to the amount of 4.5 million euro, and the prosecutor said, "His companies are wrapped in mystery, although he looks very capable of manipulating the market."

It is worth noting that Alessandro Proto is in conflict with author of erotic bestseller "Fifty Shades of Grey" E. L. James as according to him, he was the person who had inspired the writer to create the image of the main character, Christian Grey.

Tags: CelebritiesReal estate agentSale of Greek islandsAlessandro Proto Warren BuffettAngelina Jolie and Brad PittEthnos newspaper
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