Vista Global's Flohr sells house he traded for private flights

VistaJet, XO parent Chairman Thomas Flohr has sold a Bel-Air mansion that he received in exchange for $21.6 million in private jet flights.

By Doug Gollan, May 21, 2024

According to The Real Deal, Thomas Flohr, Chairman of VistaJet and XO, has sold a California home that brought him into the news in 2022.

Flohr acquired the Bel-Air mansion from Nigerian businessman Kolawole Aluko in 2016 as payment for $21.6 million in private jet flights.

According to reports, the amount covered three years of access to a Bombardier Global 6000.

Flohr paid the U.S. government $16 million to keep the home, per Bloomberg.

Bloomberg initially reported on the house for private jet services arrangement in 2020.

Aluko allegedly was involved in a bribery scheme that generated over $1.5 billion.

Neither Flohr nor Vista Global was part of the scandal.

However, the DOJ said Flohr should have been aware the residence at 755 Sarbonne Road would be subject to forfeiture “because of an existing relationship with Aluko and news articles reporting that the Nigerian businessman was suspected of money laundering.”

The Real Deal reports the house went to contract on April 30 at a listing price of $39.9 million and sold for $22.5 million.

VistaJet, XO News

Also, according to Bloomberg, Flohr told investors earlier this year that his 86% stake in the company he founded provides “an enormous equity cushion in the business which can be accessed to bolster liquidity.”

Flohr has been refuting reports of financial distress at Vista Global since a Financial Times article last year focused on its increasing debt, net losses, and cash deficit to prepaid jet card sales.

It recently filed a lawsuit seeking 386 million euros in damages against a rival and several of its executives.

It accuses the competitor of using confidential documents passed to journalists and other stakeholders to destabilize the privately held flight provider.

In the lawsuit, Vista Global alleges AirX’s actions “severely, negatively impact” its “business affairs and reputation.”

Earlier this month Moody’s changed Vista’s bond outlook from positive to stable.

VistaJet offers intercontinental flyers guaranteed availability at contracted rates worldwide with as little as 24 hours notice to book and cancel.

It sells its prepaid VistaJet jet card as an alternative to buying a fractional share in a large cabin jet or chartering on a trip-by-trip basis.

Its XO Membership features dynamic pricing but allows clients to book flights instantly online instead of using the standard quoting process.

Vista operators ranked as the third-largest in North America last year behind NetJets and Flexjet.

READ: Here’s what you need to know about VistaJet before you buy

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