Jon Swain, Bangkok and Michael Sheridan, Hong Kong
ZIMBABWE’S President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace have secretly bought a £4m bolt-hole in the Far East while his country struggles with hyper-inflation, mass unemployment and a cholera epidemic.
The Mugabes’ house, in an exclusive residential complex in Hong Kong, was purchased on their behalf by a middleman through a shadowy company whose registered office is in a run-down tenement block. When a reporter and a photographer called at the house last week, they were attacked by the Zimbabwean occupants. The assailants were questioned by the police.
The property came to light during a Sunday Times investigation into the Mugabes’ financial interests in Asia, where a web of associates has helped them to spend lavishly on luxuries and stash away millions in bank accounts. In Zimbabwe, meanwhile, inflation has reached 231m%, unemployment stands at 94% and 3,467 people have died in recent months from cholera.
According to sources in Zimbabwe and Asia, Grace Mugabe has splashed out £55,500 on marble statues in Vietnam and £8,700 on a handbag in Singapore. She and her husband have enjoyed some of the region’s finest hotels....