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Sunday 4 December 2016

Hong Kong billionaire dazzles 7-year-old daughter with purchase of €45m 'Blue Moon' diamond

The flawless 'Blue Moon' diamond bought at the auction
The flawless 'Blue Moon' diamond bought at the auction

A mystery buyer who spent a world record £32m on a flawless 'Blue Moon' diamond and then renamed it Josephine was revealed as a flamboyant Hong Kong billionaire - who bought the jewel to honour his seven-year-old daughter.

Property tycoon Joseph Lau - who has a long history of buying fine wines, art and jewellery - broke two records in two days with his acquisition of the diamond, which was confirmed by a secretary at his office.

The 64-year-old built up his personal fortune of £6.4bn as a corporate raider in the 1990s.

The 12.03-carat diamond is said to be among the largest known vivid blue diamonds and was the showpiece sale at Wednesday night's auction at Sotheby's in Geneva.

His purchase of the £32m Blue Moon Diamond in Geneva, and the acquisition of a rare pink diamond ring for £19m in the city a day earlier, were both conducted anonymously.

But when the two gemstones were promptly renamed 'The Blue Moon of Josephine' and 'Sweet Josephine', local media began linking the acquisitions with Mr Lau.

Among his art collection is a seven-foot-high Chairman Mao portrait by Andy Warhol which cost him £11.3m at a Christie's auction in New York in 2006. He also purchased Paul Gauguin's Te Poipoi (The Morning) for $25.8m a year later.

He also owns one of the world's best collections of fine wines, which has 10,000 bottles, and a fleet of jets.

Mr Lau has had a colourful private life, and the mother of his daughter Josephine is former aid, Chan Hoi-wan, according to local media.

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