It’s been revealed that Google co-founder Larry Page owns at least four private islands speculated to be ‘safe’ testing grounds for wacky tech ideas he isn’t ready to launch publicly.
According to legal documents obtained by Business Insider the billionaire purchased Hans Lollik and its smaller neighbouring island, Little Hans Lollik, in 2014 for $23 million.
The publication claims an investigation into Page and fellow cofounder Sergey Brin’s revealed he’s been quietly acquiring a network of islands across the globe from the Carribbean to the South Pacific.
Just under 40 miles east of the Lolliks is 36-acre Eustatia Island and according to documents obtained in 2020 Page added a plot in the South Pacific, Tavarua Island, in Fiji‘s Mamanuca region.
Page’s ownership of Eustatia Island, which sits just off fellow billionaire Richard Branson’s Necker Island, has been an open secret among locals for many years.
It’s been revealed that Google co-founder Larry Page owns at least four private islands speculated to be ‘safe’ testing grounds for wacky tech ideas
They include the Hans Lollik and Little Hans Lollik islands which he purchased in 2014
But unlike the Virgin Group founder, Page has never publicly acknowledged that the island is his.
The Hans Lollik Islands supports a dense diverse coral habitat and boasts stunning vistas and cliffs, palm forests and crystal-clear waters.
Little Hans Lollik is said to have magnificent cotton-candy white sand beaches and breathtaking views down the island.
After Page purchased the Hans Lollik islands eight years ago, a legal battle erupted between the seller and a real-estate developer named James Eckel.
Eckel claimed to have a deal to purchase the island, but a judge ruled against him, the legal case still ongoing in the Virgin Islands.
Page purchased the islands from Liberty Bankers Life Insurance Company using a limited-liability company called Virgin Island Properties LLC.
Negotiations were led by Wayne Osborne, the CEO of Page’s family office, Koop, who was deposed in 2017 as part of the years-long legal battle over the islands.
Transcripts obtained by Business Insider revealed that Page’s identity had been kept hidden from the island’s seller during the negotiation process, reflecting his desire to keep his life private.
While Page’s family office ultimately bought the islands outright, Osborne’s deposition revealed that there had been discussions about buying the corporation that owned the islands instead in the hope of reducing taxes incurred.
The ownership of the Hans Lollik Islands came to light amid a legal battle over the island
In 2020 Page added another island to his collection, the heart shaped Tavarua Island in Fiji’s Mamanuca archipelago
‘I think there is an issue where you don’t have to pay stamp tax if you buy the corporation,’ Osborne said, according to the transcript.
Only one piece of correspondence to Osborne, simply reading, ‘please proceed… thx,’ from Page is mentioned in the deposition.
It remains unclear what the world’s sixth-wealthiest person with a net worth of $117 billion is hoping to do with the Hans Lollik Islands but the larger of the Islands has personal significance.
In the deposition, Osborne suggested that Page had proposed to his wife, Lucinda Southworth, there later marrying the research scientist on Branson’s Necker Island in 2007.
During the deposition, Osborne confirmed that, as of March 2014, Eustatia was the only other island Page owned. It is unclear if he owns others beyond those identified above.
An email referenced during Osborne’s 2017 deposition reveals that Page was looking to purchase Cayo Norte, the largest privately owned island in Puerto Rico, before acquiring the Hans Lollik islands instead.
Page’s private-island collection is speculated to reflect comments he made in the past about building ‘safe places’ for technologists to test ideas without having to deploy them in public.
Employees at his now-defunct flying-car company, Kittyhawk, tested vehicles on Page’s Eustatia island some joking at the time that ‘Larry just wanted a flying car to get from his yacht to his private island.’
In 2020 Page added another island to his collection, the heart shaped Tavarua Island in Fiji’s Mamanuca archipelago.
Tavarua boasts white sand beaches and is surrounded by a coral reef with a luxurious resort that provides surfing, sport fishing, scuba diving, snorkelling and kayaking to its visitors.
The island is a surfer’s dream with seven surfing breaks including Cloudbreak, famous for generating waves up to 20-feet high.
Page bought a stake in the parent company that holds a 99-year lease on the island, Aquarius Tours Ltd, filings obtained by Business Insider show.
He later bought more shares to take a 51 per cent majority stake.
Page entered Tavarua in 2020 at the height of the pandemic using a special initiative that allowed superyachts to bypass Fiji’s COVID travel restrictions.
He spent several months there and around its surrounding islands with his family.
At the time, Fijian health officials pressured a TV network to pull a story about him donating COVID-19 medical supplies to the country, as the tech titan went out of his way to avoid the public.
Page, 48, has become reclusive over the past several years – avoiding being photographed except for a handful of times since stepping down as CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. in 2019.
During the pandemic it was reported that the billionaire’s wealth allowed him to enter Fiji even as the country closed its borders to traditional travelers.
The billionaire sought special permission to fly to New Zealand with his child, who is around 12-years-old. His wife remained at Tavarua with their other child
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern faced backlash for allowing Page and the boy to enter while there were strict border controls
Fiji’s ‘Blue Lane’ initiative allowed the super wealthy to visit the archipelago on their superyachts and private jets, even when other travelers were banned.
‘Super yachts are welcomed with open arms for which access procedures are easier, while for sailing boats like ours it is not easy,’ Lorenzo Cipriani wrote in his blog post.
‘The government are promoting a campaign welcoming those who have a lot of money to spend and are awaiting the arrival of hundreds of luxury yachts.’
The couple are very private and have not revealed the names of their two children who were born in 2009 and 2011.
While living on the Island during the pandemic Page was allowed into New Zealand despite its closed border so his son could receive urgent medical attention.
The billionaire sought special permission to fly to New Zealand with his child, who is around 12-years-old.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern faced backlash for allowing Page and the boy to enter while there were strict border controls to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Ardern denied knowledge of the 2,600-mile round trip which incensed New Zealanders living abroad who weren’t able to see their families for months.
The country’s immigration chief Kris Faafoi told reporters that Page had requested an exemption ‘to make sure his son got the treatment that was required.’
It does not appear that Page had been accompanied by his media-shy wife Southworth or their other child, who is around 10-years-old.