Pearls house at Edgecliff Drive, Gold Coast
Pearls house at Edgecliff Drive, Gold Coast

Former milkman’s multi-million mansion on the block

AN auctioneer's hammer appears poised to end the high-profile Gold Coast foray of a former milkman in India.

Nirmal Bhangoo Singh won't be there to witness the ending - he's apparently in what in his home country politely is called protective custody.

He's probably not enjoying the sort of luxury that his Pearls group bought into on the Gold Coast, in the form of the Sheraton Mirage Hotel and a classy waterfront Sanctuary Cove home.

Pearls allegedly used money from a giant Ponzi scheme to buy the properties.

The hotel was sold for $140 million early last year.

Attempts to sell the house, in the secure resort that is Sanctuary Cove, have been made since 2016 but have failed to produce a deal.

Now, courtesy of the Federal Court, the Edgecliff Dve property's in the hands of receivers and goes to auction next month.

Pearls house at Edgecliff Drive, Gold Coast for Quentin Tod column, Gold coast Bulletin
Pearls house at Edgecliff Drive, Gold Coast for Quentin Tod column, Gold coast Bulletin

A sale will end a saga that started when it first was marketed, and auctioned, in May 2016.

A $4.6 million bid was declined at the time by those in control at the Pearls head office and within a short space of time the fate of the house was out of their hands.

The Indian Government had twigged to the Pearls Ponzi scheme, which reportedly had cheated up to 50 million Indians out of $10 billion.

A government agency, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (aka SEBI), stepped in and it seems Pearls' Indian directors were given short shrift and some may have ended up in custody.

From then on attempts to sell the Sanctuary Cove house have been fruitless and, it seems very frustrating for the Gold Coast agent enlisted to find a buyer.

Ric Graham, a director of L.J. Hooker Surfers Paradise, received a number of offers, either for the house or for an adjoining lot on which Pearls had built an entertaining pavilion.

It appears he dealt with numerous lawyers in India and five law firms in Australia but couldn't find anyone with the authority to sign off on a contract.

Pearls house at Edgecliff Drive, Gold Coast for Quentin Tod column, Gold coast Bulletin
Pearls house at Edgecliff Drive, Gold Coast for Quentin Tod column, Gold coast Bulletin

Eventually the Federal Court took jurisdiction over the property and receivers have been appointed to sell it, via Ric, with an auction set for October 12.

The Pearls group outlaid $4.9 million, via Pearls Infrastructure Projects, in 2011 for the house and adjacent lot.

Nirmal Bhangoo's daughter Barinda was among those able to enjoy the house, which has five bedrooms, six bathrooms, a lift, parking for six cars, and a jetty.

It's unclear whether Nirmal, who apparently started out selling milk in a village in the Punjab, ever stepped through the front door..

Should the property sell at auction, it's likely most of the proceeds will be remitted to India to give some of the people who trusted Pearls with their money a morsel of solace.

Agent Ric obviously will get a sales commission, due reward for close to two-and-a-half years of dogged perseverance.



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