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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lebedev Buys Swiss Chateau

Lucerne's historic Chateau G?tsch has found a Russian buyer.

Swiss bank UBS sold the 19th-century mansion, complete with a funicular railway, for an undisclosed fee to the National Reserve Corporation, a company controlled by billionaire State Duma Deputy Alexander Lebedev.

Dominique Gerster, a UBS spokesman, confirmed the sale.

The corporation plans to turn G?tsch, a tourism landmark, into a luxury hotel and restaurant, CEO Anatoly Danilitsky said Friday.

The chateau, built in 1888 in the fairy tale style of Germany's Neuschwanstein and perched on a hill high above the medieval lakeside city, was purchased two years ago by UBS as a result of a client's insolvency.

Zurich-based UBS acquired the castle in 2005 for 9.1 million Swiss francs ($7.6 million) and bought the adjoining G?tschbahn funicular for 950,000 francs a year later. The bank partly renovated the building, NRC said in the statement.

The hotel had been the subject of on-and-off speculation since the previous owner vacated it in 2004. Swiss weekly SonntagsBlick last year linked it with a possible purchase by pop star Michael Jackson.

NRC, which holds a 30 percent stake in Aeroflot and owns hotels in France, Italy and Ukraine, said it planned to reopen the chateau in 2008.

AP, Bloomberg