French authorities have opened a murder investigation after a 30-year-old corpse was found in a basement during renovations of a Parisian mansion that sold for 35.1 million euros (about $41.2 million).
The property, located in Paris’ exclusive central 7th district, comes complete with an interior courtyard and private gardens.
“Historically, it is an important building. Many people lived there, including poet François Coppée,” Sabine Lebreton, the vice-president of Association pour la Sauvegarde du Site de la Rue Oudinot, a local association dedicated to preserving the neighborhood, told CNN.
“It’s also about what the place says,” she said. “In the back, there is a huge garden, you can imagine the receptions and social functions… It’s of another century.”
Abandoned since the mid-18th century, the lavish building sold for 35.1 million euros (about $41.2 million) in January.
But in July, reports emerged in French media that a body had been found in the basement of the Parisian home.
A judicial source told CNN that the Paris prosecutor’s office opened a preliminary murder investigation following the discovery of a man’s body in the basement of a building undergoing building works in Oudinot street, in Paris.
Officials said the body was discovered on February 26, and investigations have been given to the criminal unit.
Bruno Picard, a lawyer in charge of the house’s auction, told CNN: “They found him in a place that had not been visited either by the bailiff who had made the report or by anyone else. No one had visited the cellar.
“I have received an e-mail from a police officer, I sent him to my website, where I disclosed everything I know. They found a dead man,” Picard said.
“Apparently he had been there for 30 years. It won’t have much impact on the rest of this case. Given the time frame… I think the owner is about to start work,” Picard added.
Barbara Wojazer and Benjamin Berteau reported from Paris, France. Amy Woodyatt wrote from London.