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Hedge fund billionaire Griffin buys US$122m London home

There are still buyers out there for top-end homes in London.

Citadel LLC founder Ken Griffin bought 3 Carlton Gardens, a 200-year-old home that overlooks London's St. James's Park about half a mile from Buckingham Palace. The billionaire hedge-fund manager paid about US$122 million for the property, a Citadel spokesman said.

The historic Georgian-era home was redeveloped by property developer Mike Spink in a venture with Evans Randall Investors. The 20,000 square-foot (roughly 1,900 square-meter) house includes a gym, pool and underground extension. An asking price of US$186 million was originally discussed but in the past two years the house was offered for US$160 million, according to the Financial Times, which reported the purchase earlier and later clarified the asking price.

Griffin, who has a US$8.8 billion fortune, is the richest person from Illinois to feature on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world's 500 richest people. He already owns hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property in New York and Chicago, according to the index.

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For all that, 3 Carlton Gardens will stand out in his portfolio. It housed the private office of Charles de Gaulle during World War II, and a statue of the French Resistance leader stands across the road.

"It's an iconic property with great history," said Charles McDowell, founder of Charles McDowell Properties. "He's picked it up for a discount. For people who've got the money, there are real buying opportunities in London."

Prices in London's best districts are about 19 per cent below their 2014 peak, according to data compiled by broker Savills Plc.

A spokesman for the developers declined to comment.

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