A British millionaire has been ordered to demolish the $64 million chateau he built in the south of France years after he ‘forgot’ to request a building permit

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French courts say the $64 million Chateau Diter was built without permission in a protected woodland area.

British millionaire property developer Patrick Diter and his wife, Monica, wanted to buy a villa in Tuscany.

Instead, the couple ended up building their very own sprawling, $64 million Tuscan-style mansion in Grasse, a town in the south of France less than an hour’s drive from Nice, French magazine Paris Match reported in 2017.

The 32,000-square-foot mansion, dubbed “Chateau Diter,” includes 18 suites, two helicopter pads, a swimming pool, and manicured gardens.

But it may not be standing for much longer.

France’s highest judicial court has upheld a 2019 ruling that Chateau Diter was illegally built and ordered Diter to demolish it within 18 months, subscription newsletter Airmail reports. The court also reportedly fined Diter $550,000 and said he would be charged an additional $600 per day if the chateau was not destroyed by June 2022.

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Diter has been battling to keep his lavish property standing for years – and the fines have been piling up. In March 2019, an appellate court in Aix-en-Provence ruled the chateau was built without permission in a protected woodland area, The Guardian reported at the time. The court ordered Diter to destroy it within 18 months or pay a fine of $226,000 as well as an extra $565 per day for every day the home remained standing past the deadline.

But nearly two years later, the British developer is still not ready to concede defeat.

“This decision is not the epilogue of this affair,” Diter’s lawyer, Philippe Soussi said, according to Airmail. “Even the idea of demolishing Chateau Diter, which is an architectural masterpiece, is unimaginable and foolish. We’re going to fight to avoid this.”

Soussi “hinted” that he and Diter would be taking the case to Europe’s Court of Human Rights, per Airmail.

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“That’s ridiculous,” Grasse city council member Paul Euzière said, per Airmail. “Nobody has violated Patrick Diter’s human rights. His rights have been taken into account every step of the way during this legal journey.”

Rowdy guests and a ‘building frenzy’

Diter built Chateau Diter between 2000 and 2011, according to French newspaper Le Monde. In 2009, a group of neighbors took Diter to court, saying “the building frenzy had to stop,” per the Daily Mail. The neighbors have complained about noise at the chateau over the years and were once awarded about $50,000 in damages after the mansion was rented out for film productions and weddings.

Parties at the chateau have at times drawn 2,000 guests who came and went both by car and by helicopter, according to Le Monde. The property reportedly has a sound system of 132 loudspeakers across the grounds.

chateau diter france
Diter’s lawyer said the idea of demolishing the chateau is “unimaginable and foolish.”

In hearings in 2016 and 2017, Diter admitted he had forgotten to request a building permit for the chateau and ignored the injunctions to stop building, per Le Monde.

Diter and his reportedly wife live in the villa, but they’ve also rented it out as a boutique hotel, landing a feature in Boutique Hotel Awards.

The opulent chateau can sleep up to 36 guests and features several lounges, a library, a 15th-century fireplace, a cellar with a wine-tasting room, and a kitchen that overlooks the Italian garden.

Diter and his attorney did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment for this story.

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BNP Paribas posts 14% drop in 4th-quarter net income, still beats analyst expectations

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France’s BNP Paribas on Friday reported a 13.9% drop in fourth-quarter net income as the lender set aside more charges for loans that may turn sour due to the COVID-19 pandemic rattling economies worldwide.

The eurozone’s biggest listed lender struck a more upbeat note for 2021, however, saying it expected its cost of risk, which reflects provisions for bad loans, to drop compared to 2020, as economic activity gradually picks up in the second half.

BNP Paribas’ cost of risk rose by 65.5% to 1.59 billion euros in the final three months of 2020 versus a year earlier.

Net income fell to 1.59 billion euros – though this was higher than the average profit forecast by a poll of four analysts – while revenue fell by 4.5% to 10.83 billion euros, broadly in line with expectations.

The lender also expects costs to be flat this year while revenue should slightly increase. (Reporting by Matthieu Protard and Marc Angrand; Editing by Sarah White)

Read More: A fund manager who’s beaten 97% of his peers over the past 5 years shares 6 of the stocks he’s most bullish on as Biden takes a friendlier stance toward cannabis, electric vehicles, and more

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Photos show vaccines arriving at hospitals across Europe, after regulators finally approved the Pfizer shot

Franck Huet, head of the hospital pharmacy division of the AP-HP (Paris Hospitals), speaks to the press in front of boxes of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines at their arrival in the AP-HP central pharmacy on the outskirts of Paris on December 26, 2020, before being transported to hospitals in Sevran and Dijon. - France's first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine were delivered early on December 26, 2020, to the Paris hospital system's central pharmacy outside the capital, an AFP journalist saw. A refrigerated truck brought the roughly 19,500 doses from the Pfizer factory in Puurs, northeast Belgium, to Paris, the capital's APHP hospital authority said, with pharmacy chief Franck Huet calling it a "historic" moment in the pandemic. (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Franck Huet, head of the hospital pharmacy division of Paris Hospitals, seen with boxes of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines in Paris on December 26, 202.

  • Saturday marked the day that the first vaccines for the coronavirus were rolled out across Europe.
  • The European Medicines Agency approved a vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech on Monday, joining the US and UK in doing so.
  • The EMA has taken much longer to approve the vaccine, and the European Commission and EU governments had pressured the EMA to work faster, Reuters reported.
  • Countries have been allocated a maximum 10,000 doses each as part of the first shipment.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Europe has begun to receive its first doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

On Monday, the European Medicines Agency approved the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech, joining the US and UK in doing so, after an extended delay. 

Doses of the vaccine were manufactured in Belgium and were shipped across the European Union on Friday night.

Out of the first batch, the EU’s 27 member states are by and large limited to 10,000 doses each, The Associated Press reported.

“It’s here, the good news at Christmas,” Jens Spahn, the German Health Minister, said Saturday.

“At this moment, trucks are underway across Europe, across Germany and its regions, to deliver the first vaccine.”

“This vaccine is the decisive key to end this pandemic,” he said.

Here’s what the moment looked like across Europe.

 

 

Hungary

Hungarian carry boxes from the first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTec vaccines against the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) at the South-Pest Central Hospital in Budapest on December 26, 2020. - Hungary has started vaccinating healthcare workers against the coronavirus on December 26. The vaccine, manufactured in Puurs, Belgium, the first in Europe to be approved, is transferred from the hospital, the main vaccination centre, to other domestic vaccination centres. The first shipment contained 9750 doses of vaccine, which allows about 4875 people to be vaccinated. (Photo by Szilard KOSZTICSAK / various sources / AFP) (Photo by SZILARD KOSZTICSAK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Hungarian military personnel carry boxes of the Pfizer vaccine at the South-Pest Central Hospital in Budapest on December 26, 2020..

Italy

ROME, ITALY - DECEMBER 26: Italian Carabinieri escort the van with the first 9750 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the "Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani" hospital, on December 26, 2020 in Rome, Italy. The European Medicines Agency, the authority that evaluates medical products for the European Union, approved the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine on Dec. 21, with the European Union's first vaccinations occurring this weekend. (Photo by Antonio Masiello/Getty Images)
Italian police escort a van carrying doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to the Istituto Lazzaro Spallanzani hospital on December 26, 2020 in Rome.

Germany

dpatop - 26 December 2020, Bavaria, Erlangen: Joachim Herrmann (M, CSU), Minister of the Interior of Bavaria, and Melanie Huml (r, CSU), Minister of Health of Bavaria, stand next to boxes containing the first doses of Corona vaccine for Bavaria. Photo: Daniel Karmann/dpa - ATTENTION: Address has been pixelated for legal reasons (Photo by Daniel Karmann/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Joachim Herrmann, Minister of the Interior of Bavaria, (C) seen with newly arrived Pfizer vaccines on December 26, 2020.

Belgium

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - DECEMBER 26: The Covid-19 vaccination campaign starts with the arrival of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines at the University Hospital on December 26, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. Over the next days the -70° Celsius frozen mRNA vaccines will be thawed here and delivered to residential care centers all over the country where they will be administered to residents. (Photo by Nicolas Maeterlinck - Pool#OM/Getty Images)
Shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines arrive at University Hospital, Brussels, Belgium, on December 26, 2020.

France

Franck Huet, head of the hospital pharmacy division of the AP-HP (Paris Hospitals), speaks to the press in front of boxes of Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines at their arrival in the AP-HP central pharmacy on the outskirts of Paris on December 26, 2020, before being transported to hospitals in Sevran and Dijon. - France's first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine were delivered early on December 26, 2020, to the Paris hospital system's central pharmacy outside the capital, an AFP journalist saw. A refrigerated truck brought the roughly 19,500 doses from the Pfizer factory in Puurs, northeast Belgium, to Paris, the capital's APHP hospital authority said, with pharmacy chief Franck Huet calling it a "historic" moment in the pandemic. (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / POOL / AFP) (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Franck Huet, head of the hospital pharmacy division of Paris Hospitals, seen with boxes of the Pfizer vaccines in Paris on December 26, 202.

Spain

GUADALAJARA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 26: The first doses of the vaccine against COVID-19, developed by the Pfizer company, are prepared for distribution, on December 26, 2020 in Guadalajara, Spain. Spain will begin to administer the coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech on December 27. The Strategy of Vaccination against Covid in Spain will prioritise nursing homes residents and personnel, elderly and disabled people, and front-line health personnel. Over next twelve weeks Spain will receive 4,591,275 doses of the Pfizer vaccine. With 1.84 million cases recorded since the start of the pandemic, Spain has reported almost 50,000 covid-19 deaths. (Photo by José María Cuadrado - Pool /Getty Images)
The first doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrive on on December 26, 2020 in Guadalajara, Spain.

Austria

Vienna's Mayor Michael Ludwig presents a vaccine on the occasion of the arrival of the first coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination doses, next to (LtoR) Governor of Lower Austria Johanna Mikl-Leitner, Herba Chemosan CEO Andreas Windischbauer, Austrian Defence Minister Klaudia Tanner and Pfizer Austria CEO Robin Rumler at the head office of pharmaceutical products wholesaler Herba Chemosan Apotheker AG in Vienna on December 26, 2020. (Photo by HANS PUNZ / APA / AFP) / Austria OUT (Photo by HANS PUNZ/APA/AFP via Getty Images)
A photo showing Austrian government officials holding the first doses of the vaccine in Vienna on December 26, 2020.

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What happened last week? Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccine rollout widened, China targeted Jack Ma’s Alibaba, and the UK border with Europe closed.

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A medical worker inside an intensive care unit on December 22.

  • What happened last week?
  • By late Wednesday, the US hit a milestone: 1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in 10 days. 
  • This week brought further scrutiny of Alibaba and Ant Group leader Jack Ma, both inside and outside China.
  • After being closed for days, the border between the UK and EU reopened. Of 2,637 drivers who had been tested by midday Thursday, only three tests came back positive, the UK secretary of transportation said on Twitter.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

What happened last week?

The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t slow down for the holiday week. Instead, it accelerated around the US, and the world. By midweek, almost 79 million cases were reported worldwide, with about 18.5 million in the US, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Los Angeles Country remained the US epicenter, although daily new cases in the state slipped to about 40,000, down from a record of 63,817 new cases on December 16. 

Only 1.1% of beds were available at California’s intensive care units, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday on Twitter. Frontline workers in the state begged people to stay home for the Christmas holiday.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines continued to roll out

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Medical assistant Charles Bowers receives a dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine in San Diego on Tuesday.

Doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were delivered to hospitals and clinics around the US last week. People getting doses won’t be able to choose which they receive, although there are some ways to tell which shot you’ll get.

On Monday, a few frontline workers shared their experience getting the vaccine with Business Insider. As lawmakers in Washington also began receiving their shots, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Rand Paul disagreed on on Monday about whether Washington should be prioritized.

By late Wednesday, the US hit a milestone: 1 million doses of the vaccine had been administered in 10 days. 

In a statement announcing the milestone, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the vaccine was a “critical tool,” but more work needed to be done. 

He said: “But until every person in the US is able to get a COVID-19 vaccine, we continue to ask Americans to embrace proven public health strategies including social distancing, good hand hygiene, and wearing a mask in public to reduce the risk of transmission and protect our communities.”

China broadened its investigation into Jack Ma’s empire

jack ma alibaba
Alibaba founder Jack Ma in January 2018.

The Chinese government continued its investigation into the business empire built by Jack Ma, the country’s richest man. 

Alibaba founder Ma had planned to bring Ant Group to the public markets this year, with plans to raise about $34.5 billion. In November, those plans were put on hold, and later reports said the IPO might not happen in 2021 either. 

On Monday, reports said Ma had tried to schmooze China’s rulers by breaking up Ant Group, and handing parts over to the government. 

This week brought further scrutiny of Ma, both inside and outside China. On Wednesday, a report said that China had demanded that Alibaba process stolen US data

On Thursday, Chinese regulators said they’d launched an anti-monopoly investigation into Alibaba. Other government groups said they expected to hold talks with Ant Group, an affiliate. 

Shipments were backed up at the UK-EU border

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Drivers have warm drinks while they stand next to lorries parked on the M20 motorway, as EU countries impose a travel ban from the UK following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, near Ashford, Britain, Dec. 22.

Last Sunday, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, closed the UK-EU border, citing concerns about a new strain of coronavirus in the UK.

Early in the week, thousands of trucks waiting to cross the border lined up outside checkpoints. Salvation Army volunteers fed drivers, and Tesco warned of a fruit and vegetable shortage. By Wednesday, a small group of drivers had scuffled with police offers at the port. 

The port reopened late Wednesday, with officials on the ground doing COVID-19 tests on the thousands of drivers waiting to cross. 

 

On Thursday, Grant Shapps, secretary for transport, said 2,637 people had been tested by midday. Only three tests came back positive, he said on Twitter.

“As the EU Transport Commissioner has tweeted, testing hauliers is not recommended. Spending days in a lorry on your own puts you in an extremely low risk category,” he said. 

Here’s what happened the week before last. 

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France is fast-tracking citizenship for front-line workers

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Undocumented immigrants iron homemade protective facemasks for The Salvation Army in Paris, on April 6, 2020.

  • France is on track to reward more than 700 front-line workers with citizenship under an expedited process announced in September.
  • “Health professionals, cleaning ladies, childcare workers, checkout staff: They all proved their commitment to the nation, and it is now the turn of the republic to take a step towards them,” the French interior ministry said in a statement.
  • Just under 2,900 people have applied for French citizenship under the expedited process, according to the BBC.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The French interior ministry announced this week that more than 700 immigrants who are front-line workers in the fight against COVID-19 have been granted citizenship or in the final stage of obtaining it under an expedited system announced in September, the BBC reported.

“Health professionals, cleaning ladies, childcare workers, checkout staff: They all proved their commitment to the nation, and it is now the turn of the republic to take a step towards them,” the ministry said in a statement.

Typically, a person must reside in France for at least five years before applying for citizenship. Under the expedited system, there is no such requirement, with the entire process taking just weeks.

About 2,900 people have applied for French citizenship under the expedited process, according to the BBC, with 74 having already obtained it and another 693 on the verge.

But France has not always been so welcoming.

In July, the European Court of Human Rights ordered French authorities to compensate three asylum-seekers who it said were “victims of degrading treatment,” Deutsche Well reported, forced to sleep on the streets while their claims were processed amid a government effort to clear refugee camps.

As Amnesty International observed last year, French authorities also “harassed, intimidated, and even violently assaulted” those who have sought to provide humanitarian aid to migrants, part of “deliberate attempt to curtail acts of solidarity.”

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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Before-and-after photos show how the coronavirus pandemic emptied out Europe’s famous Christmas markets

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Roemerberg square in Frankfurt, Germany before and after the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Christmas markets are a cherished tradition in Europe, and usually attract millions of visitors every year.
  • But this year, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced countries to cancel or diminish their Christmas festivities. 
  • Scroll down to see before-and-after photos of Europe’s famous Christmas markets.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Christmas markets are being canceled this year amid concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The markets are a cherished tradition in Europe, and usually attract millions of visitors every year.

But in 2020 the large squares where people would usually gather to drink mulled wine and eat festive Christmas treats, are looking eerily empty.

Scroll down to see before-and-after photos of Europe’s Christmas markets.

BEFORE: The city of Nürnberg in Germany has one of the country’s best known Christmas markets, drawing millions of locals and tourists every year.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
A traditional Christmas market in the square in front of the Church of Our Lady in Nuremberg, Germany, on December 1, 2017.

Some 85 million people visit Germany’s Christmas markets every year, according to Deutsche Welle.

Source: Deutsche Welle

AFTER: But Christmas festivities had to be canceled last month, leaving the city’s large square looking a lot emptier than usual.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
Church of Our Lady in Nuremberg, Germany, on November 23, 2020.

BEFORE: In Frankfurt, Germany, the famous Christmas market usually looks like a Winter wonderland.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
Roemerberg square in Frankfurt, Germany, on November 25, 2019.

AFTER: But this year, the square has been left vacant and visitors can only view a single, large Christmas tree.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
Roemerberg square in Frankfurt, Germany, on November 27, 2020.

BEFORE: In Germany’s capital, Berlin, a Christmas market usually lights up the Gendarmenmarkt square.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
A traditional Christmas market in the Gendarmenmarkt square in Berlin, Germany, on November 25, 2013.

AFTER: This Christmas, the square looks like it does all year round, with not a single decoration in sight.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
Gendarmenmarkt square in Berlin, Germany, on November 23, 2020.

BEFORE: In Dortmund, the Christmas tree is the annual attraction as it’s rumored to be the in the world.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
Christmas Market in Dortmund, Germany, on December 17, 2018.

The tree, which is usually surrounded by festive stalls, measures up to 150 feet tall every year, according to the market’s official website.

Source: Dortmund Christmas Market 

AFTER: But this year, officials haven’t even put up the Christmas tree.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
Dortmund, Germany, on November 23, 2020.

BEFORE: Other landmarks in Germany, including the Baroque Charlottenburg palace, usually also step up their decorations during the festive season.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
A traditional Christmas market in front of the Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin, Germany, on November 24, 2008.

AFTER: But the Christmas market in front of Charlottenburg Palace has also been canceled.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin, Germany, on November 24, 2020.

BEFORE: It’s not just Germany’s markets that are being called off. In Prague, the Old Town Square is usually packed with gingerbread-eating visitors.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic, on December 5, 2019.

AFTER: But this year, nothing but a lit-up Christmas tree remains after the market had to be canceled.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic, on November 28, 2020

BEFORE: Strasbourg in northeastern France is known as the European capital of Christmas, with its incredible markets attracting 2 million visitors every season.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
Traditional Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, on December 20, 2016.

Source: Noel Strasbourg

AFTER: The city has still put up decorations and is running some activities, but officials have had to massively ramp down the usual festivities.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
A street decorated for Christmas in Strasbourg, France, on November 27, 2020.

BEFORE: Brussels is also a popular city to visit during Christmas time.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
The Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, on December 18, 2019.

AFTER: But its biggest event of the season, Winter Wonders, had to be canceled last month.

europe christmas market coronavirus before after
The Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, on November 24, 2020.

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