Due to a confidentiality agreement, Mr Assaf said he was unable to reveal any details including the purchase price.
However, as the childcare entrepreneur spent $11 million buying a waterfront residence at nearby Woolwich in August last year it appears unlikely the Assafs intend to live at Passy.
With Mr Assaf’s purchasing vehicle using the words “education and sports centre,” a proposal for a childcare centre and sporting facilities may be on the cards for one of the largest residential blocks in the blue-ribbon suburb.
None of the local real estate agents spoken to by The Herald had any knowledge of the purchase of the prized 4200-square-metre holding from the Obeid family in the off-market deal.
The latest purchase by the Assafs comes in the wake of last year’s sale of a majority interest in their company Montessori Academy to a subsidiary of the China-based property management company Greentown Service Group. The sale price was estimated at around $80 million.
For 20 years Passy has been home of Eddie and Judy Obeid and their nine children. The then Labor MP purchased the five-bedroom house in December 1999 for $2.9 million.
The Obeids shelved their $2.5 million plans for a two-storey pool pavilion, a cinema, conservatory and an underground garage for nine cars shortly before the Independent Commission Against Corruption began its explosive 2012 inquiry into a corrupt coal deal which delivered $30 million to the family with the promise of another $30 million.
Obeid, 76, and his son Moses, 51, along with former mining minister Ian Macdonald, 71, are currently facing a trial in relation to the coal deal. Their judge-alone trial, which was adjourned due to Covid-19 concerns, will resume at the end of August.
Obeid has already served a three-year- jail term for misconduct in public office in relation to his family’s secret interests in café leases at Circular Quay.
Other caveats on the Passy title reflect that the house was used as collateral for a $3.75 million loan from Stacks Finance with an initial interest rate of 8.95 per cent rising to 12.95 per cent.
Stacks are well known as lenders to those suffering financial distress, and the Obeids have had trouble borrowing money from more traditional financial institutions.
Meanwhile, NSW taxpayers are still trying to recover approximately $7.9 million from Obeid and three of his sons – Moses, Paul and Eddie jnr – for their failed lawsuits against the corruption watchdog and its officers.
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Kate McClymont is an investigative journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.