Home > General > Van Hoogstraten-Zimbabwe’s property Baron

Van Hoogstraten-Zimbabwe’s property Baron

The Herald has been interviewing Nichols Van Hoogstraten over the last few weeks and have found themselves in a legal wrangle with Econet, Zimbabwe’s largest cell phone company. The British businessman and real estate magnate is said to have made an attack on Econet during these interviews and Econet has sued both Van hoogstraten and the Herald. I am sure the Herald will bear the bilk of the legal battle, because this is probably of no consquence to the bad boy of business.

 The Herald reported him as being one of the richest men in Zimbabwe and so I set out to establish whether this was a fact. I didn’t have to do much searching when I realized that the man wasn’t even Zimbabwean, but British. It seems that He has been estimated to be worth £500 million. His assets in property and farming in Zimbabwe alone are estimated to be worth over £200 million.

He has been in the process of constructing Hamilton Palace, near Uckfield in East Sussex since the 1980s. Construction of the neo classical building began in 1985 and cost around £40 million up to 2006 and is reported to be the most expensive private house built in Britain in the last century. It is bigger than Buckingham Palace and has a 600ft art gallery and a mausoleum designed to hold his body for 5,000 years. The mausoleum’s walls are three feet thick because he he wanted to “make the building last for ever”.

Business Exploits

Beginning at an early age, Van Hoogstraten built himself a great fortune from almost nothing and was once hailed as Britians youngest millionaire.

He left school in 1962 (aged 16) and joined the merchant navy for a year.

Age 17: He began his property business in the Bahamas with an initial investment of £1,000 realised from the sale of his stamp collection.

Age 19: He purchased his first property in Zimbabwe.

Age 22: Reputed to have had 350 properties in Sussex alone and to have become Britain’s youngest millionaire.

Age 35: By 1980 he owned over 2,000 properties. By the time he was 22, he was reputed to have had 350 properties in Sussex alone and to have become Britain’s youngest millionaire.

In the 1980s, as the housing market boomed, he prospered, acquiring more than 2,000 properties.

By the 1990s he had sold 90% of them, making massive profits and investing in other areas, including global mining.

Van Hoogstraten’s criminal career

It seems that Van Hoogstraten may be more famous for his criminality and not for his business practices. He has a string of convictions under his belt.

1956, aged 11 Conditional discharge for theft of a typewriter from school

1960, aged 15 Two years’ probation for being an accessory to burglary and for handling stolen goods

1966 Fined £2 for using obscene language to a police officer

1968 Jailed for four years for criminal damage and demanding money with menaces. He had arranged a hand-grenade attack on the home of a former business associate. It was alleged that the victim owed him £2,000.

  • In a separate case, sentenced to three years for eight counts of handling stolen goods

1972 Accused of bribing a prison officer to get letters out of Wormwood Scrubs; 15-month sentence reduced on appeal four months later to allow his immediate release.

  • Fined for forceable entry and conspiracy to cause damage

1979 Fined £200 for assault causing actual bodily harm after punching and kicking a bailiff

1999 Fined £1,500 for contempt of court after threatening a barrister during a case brought by a group of flat-owners

July 2002 Convicted of manslaughter

Van Hoogstraten is said to be dropping down the list of the richest people in Britain. In 2001, he was rated 159th on the Sunday Times rich list with a valuation of £200m. A few years later, that figure was cut to £60m and his rating plummeted to 595th.  A headline in the Herald said, I will not let anyone steal money from me caught my attention. I decided that this is a good stance to take in Zimbabwe where corruption is rife and CEO’s milk companies dry. I certainly don’t think he’s the kind of person you would want to steal a penny from.

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Categories: General
  1. September 2, 2011 at 1:39 am
  2. September 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Nice Post!

  3. VanHoogstratenFan
    January 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    You call this ‘research’ – don’t waste my time.

    (a comment favoured by NVH himself) – worthless…

    • January 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      I do. Whats the real story, feel free to fill us in.

  1. September 8, 2011 at 12:51 pm

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