More sad news – Christmas on Mustique may be cancelled

The invitations were out, the private jet arranged, and now friends of Corina Noel and her hubby can’t reach them to confirm that the party’s still on. They’re worried, naturally, that something may have happened.

FRIENDS of Andrés Piedrahita and Corina Noel were exchanging e-mails last week, trying to ascertain whether their Christmas trip to Mustique was going ahead as planned.

It was supposed to be the usual affair; meet on Boxing Day in Barbados, then fly to the exclusive island by private jet. There they would eat their turkey in the sunshine at Yemanja, the Noel family holiday home, and enjoy views that are reputed to be the best on the island. Or so says fashion magnate Tommy Hilfiger, who lives next door.

Although the guest list had yet to be finalised, the circle usually included a handful of Europe’s financial elite, such as Alberto Cortina, the billionaire Spanish banker, and Lawrence Stroll, the former owner of Asprey.

Other acquaintances include Arki Busson, the London-based hedge-fund impresario and fiancé of actress Uma Thurman, as well as the younger generation of the BotÍn family, the banking dynasty that runs Santander – owner of Abbey and Alliance & Leicester.

In the past few days, however, Andrés and Corina have dropped off the social radar, refusing to answer calls to their Belgravia townhouse or their home in Madrid. Not all the calls were friendly.

As the European head of the investment firm Fairfield Greenwich, Piedrahita was one of the most prolific salesmen for Bernard Madoff. Fairfield, run by Corina’s father Walter Noel, has emerged as Madoff’s biggest single victim and may lose more than $7.5 billion (£5 billion). Many of its clients were lured in through a network of the family’s connections.

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6 responses to “More sad news – Christmas on Mustique may be cancelled

  1. CEA

    apparently the Feds are reporting that Bernie had not done trades in “years”. So- all they were doing is spending the day making up fake trades after-the-fact.

    Also – Chris, when you said the house on North Street was owner-built, not spec, did you actually mean the house on North that is at the on ramp to the northbound Merritt? The one that is trying to look like a turreted castle? Someone is building that NOT on spec? Yikes, that is one ugly house.

  2. Anonymous

    This site is obviously frequented by too many realtors. Realtors’ “taste” in homes would have us all living in center hall colonials. Chris labasts the same old architecture but then derides owners who stray even modestly from the standard fare.

    XXX whomever is building the house on North Street obviously has the money to do what they please. You’re probably just jealous you can’t afford the same liberties.

    Know it all realtors are a large part of the housing bubble….you all participated, and profited handsomely, from the last few years of ridiculous pricing. Then you come on this blog and talk about stupid pricing by homeowners. Ever stop to think that some people are just trying to recover from the bad advice proffered by you realtors? Of course not, that would mean admitting that you were complicit in what has become a worldwide financial crisis.

    I read this blog every day and I am struck by the arrogance of the realtors who comment here. Point being, most people think of Greenwich residential real estate brokerage as the ditzy-mommy profession and given the comments here, the general perception is not too far from reality.

  3. christopherfountain

    Hmmm – do I sense a spot of anger here? The fact that you believe “realtor taste” dictates what people buy is possibly a good place to start at unraveling your dispepsia. We don’t dictate anything – not styles, not neighborhoods, and not prices. The market place does that. While I would personally prefer to live in a contemporary, light-filled home I would never build one in Greenwich because buyer s who come to Greenwich want and expect a colonial home. Their loss, perhaps, but that’s the way it is. Another example: I love catamarans and once went so far as to purchase plans from a designer and subkit them for a quote from a Maine boatbuilder I knew. I didn’t proceed on what would have been a $100,000 project because I knew, given the sailing world’s distrust of multi-hulls, that I’d lose 60% of the boat’s value the moment it slid down the skids and hit the water. Life’s unfair.

    Did we realtors profit from high prices in the past decade? We sure did, and so did the home owners who cleared out of Dodge – they laughed all the way down to Florida. But, and I’m sure this will cheer you up, we’ll also profit when prices go down – your house will be more affordable and more buyers will want it. That sucks for you, of course, if you’re planning to cash out and not take advantage of a lower price on another house but welcome to the genius of the free enterprise system. It goes up, it goes down and not everybody wins, all the time (although we realtors come close).
    Stupid pricing by homeowners is exactly that. Sorry that you’re “just trying to recover from the bad advice you received” but try that one out when you go sell your GE stock. Your damned broker recommended it at $35, now it’s down to $16, but you want to sell it for $34 to recover something from that bad advice. Life doesn’t work that way.
    But do keep reading – it’s nice to know I’m annoying someone other than devoted friends of Walter and Monica.

  4. Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

    from today’s newyorksocialdiary.com. The names of the locals scammed may start with the McCloys, who got the Noels into Round Hill when the Noels first moved here when Missy McCloy invited Monica to play in her tennis group…

    Monica and Walter Noel.
    In this morning’s New York Times, Alex Berenson and Eric Konigsberg have a story on the Fairfield Sentry Fund which had all or most of its funds in Madoff’s investment fund. The Fairfield/Greenwich Group, as the funds are known, is said to have had an exposure to the Madoff investment fund of more than $7 billion. Now gone. According to the Times, the Group was pulling in hundreds of millions a year in fees charged for “managing” the funds that were all with Madoff.

    The head of this fund group is a man named Walter Noel who with his wife Monica have a high profile social presence in New York. They also have five beautiful daughters all of whom have husbands who work for Dad. Monica Noel is from a Brazilian family and her beautiful daughters have a style that is vaguely and also alluringly Latin-American. They are not only beauties but there is a lot of personality there.

    The Noels’ social profile has risen noticeably in the last several years and especially in the last few, but their connections go back for decades when Mr. Noel worked in investment banking in Europe, especially in Switzerland where he obviously forged many connections that were mutually beneficial (albeit not infinitely) later on in life.

    They have several residences, all impressively articulating their wealth, as well as welcoming. They bought a big house in Southampton on Lake Agawam a few years ago, one of the great houses of the town, built more than a century ago and designed by the legendary Stanford White. There, their summer soirees and dinners were lively — fun and filled with the sunkissed faces and lots of laughter, as well as the beautiful daughters and their beautiful friends. The Noels added fresh energy to the town steeped in the torpor of giddy excess. They were, as Cole Porter wrote it, “ridin’ high.”

    The Noels with the McCloys. Monica with daughter Marisa (left).

    Monica and Walter Noel are still out and about during this holiday season. However, the Madoff Catastrophe has cast a pall over everything and it surely has touched their lives. This isn’t, however, a loss of confidence. This is a matter where confidence is lost.

  5. With a little luck next Christmas the Noels can share rooms in The Big House. May have to stay in the US but at least meals are included.

    No more balmy breezes,
    Fitting end to the sleezes.
    8 by 10 will be the cell,
    a fitting to end to old Noel.

  6. mustique madness

    first of all, there are no private jets into Mustique…
    secondly, Hilfiger does not live next door to NOELS