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Property broker who met Tom Cruise’s ‘rep’ says no villa in Malta costs €12 million
Realtor who met Alessandro Proto twice denies existence of €12 million villa – Proto insists with MaltaToday he has direct contacts with star.
2 March 2012, 12:00am
The real estate agent who met Italian financier Alessandro Proto - who has told MaltaToday he is still representing Hollywood star Tom Cruise in the search for a villa in the nondescript town of San Gwann - says there is no villa in Malta that costs €12 million.
MaltaToday spoke to the Dhalia property broker soon after his name was dropped by Alessandro Proto, the self-styled 'property broker to the stars' who contacted MaltaToday after carrying the denial by Cruise's publicists that the star was searching for a Maltese villa.
"I have met Alessandro Proto twice, once in July and recently... but in the last month he has been unreachable, and I have both his mobile phone numbers. Even his assistant has disappeared," the broker said, who apparently was also searching for Brad Pitt's new residence on the island with Proto.
It is understood that Proto has been in touch with other estate agents.
But the Dhalia agent has ruled out the existence of a €12 million villa. "There is no such thing," he told MaltaToday.
And he equally expressed doubts over the credentials of Alessandro Proto, 37, whose Lugano firm Alessandro Proto Consulting claims to represent American property mogul Donald Trump.
"I'm having my doubts... he's not answering my phone-calls or emails. There's a big question mark. I did have a good rapport with him but suddenly there's been no communication."
While Dhalia's broker struggles to find a window to discuss Tom Cruise's tennis court-sized living room, Proto himself got in touch with MaltaToday earlier this morning to claim the denials by 42 West, Cruise's publicists, are a tad misinformed.
"You see, the people you spoke to... who are they?"
MaltaToday: "Who are you referring to?"
Proto: "The publicists..."
MaltaToday: "42 West?"
Proto: "Yes... the thing is 42 West are Tom Cruise's reps on certain matters. I, on the other hand, have my direct contacts to Cruise through other entities."
But Proto would not tell MaltaToday who these intermediaries were when asked whether this newspaper could verify their existence. "I cannot tell you. You know what this business is like... we have never had any problems on these deals."
Proto also insisted that he sent a dozen listings of luxury properties to Tom Cruise, who allegedly found one to be suitable - located in the environs of San Gwann and costing €12 million. "It's in the vicinity of San Gwann. You know how small Malta is, everybody knows everyone."
READ Tom Cruise publicist denies house-hunt
Alessandro Proto (right) self-styled property broker to the stars
The publicists for Hollywood star Tom Cruise have denied that the film actor is scouting for a "€12,000,000" property in the San Gwann area, MaltaToday was told.
Asked whether the star had expressed the desire to buy a house in Malta, 42 West, the New York-based agency denied the claim. "It is not true," Patricia Holdstein, assistant publicist at 42 West, told MaltaToday on the phone.
A further email, asking her to confirm whether the star had employed Alessandro Proto Consulting to search for the €12 million pad, was answered with some more clarity: "It is NOT TRUE," Holdstein wrote.
A report published in The Times back in December 2011 stated that Cruise was on the lookout for a property in Malta after he paid a 'secret visit' to his friend, the fellow actor and producer Brad Pitt, while the latter was shooting World War Z on our shores last year.
Then, a more recent report - published on 29 February - claimed that the Top Gun star was eyeing a San Gwann property that supposedly belonged to one of the most "prominent families" in Malta. Altogether the €12 million villa has eight bedrooms, six bathrooms, an indoor and an outdoor pool, a gym and a private cinema. It also has a living room the size of a tennis court.
The web is awash with Alessandro Proto's name as it accompanies the names of stars like Mel Gibson, Cruise, Madonna, Jude Law, Matt Damon, Johnny Depp and George Clooney, all house-hunting in Italy with his assistance.
In comments to MaltaToday, Proto insisted that he had never stated that he sold Depp a property in Venice: "What's true is that while he spent eight months in Venice filming The Tourist, he saw three palazzi and expressed his interest in buying one. The story is not that he bought the house, but that he had seen it."
But it was Depp who put an end to the rumours that he was negotiating the acquisition of a palace in Venice with the real estate company: "There is nothing good that can come out of that water."
1. We have sent Mr Cruise some villa brochures to see and we have had one confirmation of interest, and not of purchase. I reiterate that the value is of €12 million. The zoning has been misinterpreted. I was asked by a journalist the area, which I couldn’t reveal, so I said it was in the San Gwann environs.
2. Alessandro Proto Consulting has been featured on the web and print media for its real estate and financing services. We have been featured in Il Sole24ore, Corriere Della Sera, Panorama, the International Herald Tribune. It is not true that the Sole24ore expressed doubts on our operation. They only highlighted something which we later proved, and in return they favoured us with two write-ups on our activities. We have carried out financial business, approved by the Italian authorities, for Unicredit, Fiat, Generali, Mediaset, etc… we have been entrusted to sell the Berlusconi family’s Cannes villa; and the Greek government has confirmed a meeting with us to discuss investments in Greece.
3. It is true I did not return calls to the Dhalia agent who was calling me three times daily, and having seen that the properties he sent were not idoneous, I said I would contact him myself. I had no time to waste with Dhalia which is why I was unreachable.
4. In Malta there are many properties at a value of €12 million which are not officially on the market because their owners don’t want the public to know they are on sale.
5. The activity of Alessandro Proto Consulting is buttressed by its years of international experience. The fact we have 100,000 Swiss francs in capital has got nothing to do with this.
Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.
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