Corpse discovered after 30 years in the basement of a mansion in Paris

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The restoration of a 35 million euro mansion in Paris was halted after the discovery of a 30-year-old corpse rotting in the basement.

Nestled in the affluent district of Faubourg Saint-Germain, which has housed French nobility for centuries, the abandoned complex has been empty since the 1980s.

It was sold in January after a bidding war that lasted only 15 minutes.

The buyer, investment banker Jean-Bernard Lafonta, paid € 35.1million (£ 29.9million), nearly six times the reserve.

On February 26, technicians who were sent to secure the crumbling 17,000 square foot building discovered a corpse under planks and rubble, Le Monde reported.

Restoration of a 35 million euro mansion in Paris was halted after a 30-year-old corpse was found rotting in the basement (photo: the overgrown garden in the inner courtyard of the property)

Nestled in the affluent Faubourg Saint-Germain district, home to French nobility for centuries, the abandoned complex has been empty since the 1980s

Nestled in the affluent Faubourg Saint-Germain district, home to French nobility for centuries, the abandoned complex has been empty since the 1980s

The 17,000 square foot building is located minutes from the Prime Minister's official residence in the 7th arrondissement

The 17,000 square foot building is located minutes from the Prime Minister’s official residence in the 7th arrondissement

“Everyone was upset to learn that it had been there for so long, without any of us knowing,” Sabine Lebreton, head of a local group dedicated to preserving the house, told Le Parisien .

“In February, just before the lockdown, the work was going well. Trucks of rubble left the site every day, ”Ms. Lebreton told the newspaper. “Then suddenly everything stopped.

A murder investigation was launched after broken bones and evidence of knife wounds were found on the body.

Identity papers allowed the police to reveal that the victim was a drunken vagrant, Jean-Pierre Renaud, and forensic teams were able to date his disappearance about 30 years ago.

The property's walled-up windows face the street

The property’s walled-up windows face the street

Technicians were dispatched to secure the crumbling property before restoration work began

Technicians were dispatched to secure the crumbling property before restoration work began

“He was someone without a fixed address, with a drinking problem,” a police source told Le Monde.

“We could imagine a fight with someone else living on the fringes … But we don’t know if he died in the mansion or was brought there, and we may never know who was responsible.”

“It is quite possible that the murderer himself is dead now.

Renaud’s relatives have been informed of his death, police confirmed.

Lafonta, formerly of Lazard Bank, BNP Paribas and Wendel Investissement, declined to comment since the horrific discovery of his new property

Lafonta, formerly of Lazard Bank, BNP Paribas and Wendel Investissement, declined to comment since the horrific discovery of his new property

Lafonta, formerly of Banque Lazard, BNP Paribas and Wendel Investissement, declined to comment since the horrific discovery of his new property was recently made public.

The restoration of the mansion, a few minutes from the official residence of the Prime Minister, should resume after the summer.

The property is being developed into offices for an international company, according to Le Parisien.

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