Monday, July 23, 2007
Heather Mills recently purchased timber mountain lodge in Slovenia has become the centre of contention.
The estranged wife of Sir Paul McCartney added the stunning mansion, owned by the country's president, to her ever-expanding property portfolio after securing a staggering 70 million pound divorce settlement with the former Beatle. But, an 84-year-old widow, named Dana Stankovic, who lives in Cornwall and whose father built the house in 1937, has claimed that the property still belongs to her family.
Stankovic has revealed that the house was never a property of the Slovenian government. "We had to abandon the house when the Second World War broke out. Then it was appropriated in turn by the Nazis, the Communists and the Slovenian government," the Daily Mail quoted Stankovic, as saying.
"And now this Mills woman - I had never heard of her until last week - has got her hands on it. But my family are the rightful owners. We've never sold it and now we want it back," she said. Stankovic says that her lawyers have now served a notice on Mills, adding that they fight the matter in the court to get the house back.
Stankovic's lawyer Stephen Barker has also written to Mills outlining his client's position. "There is EU protocol for the return of confiscated property. If Slovenia wants the benefits of EU membership then it needs to abide by all the rules," Barker said.
The issue was raised by EU officials during their meetings with Slovenian representatives in the run-up to the country joining the Union in 2004. The EU officials said that they expected Slovenia to return 'nationalised property' as soon as possible.
Stankovic said that she is determined to win the property back from Mills and is not frightened by the prospect of an intricate legal battle. "I will never give up my fight to get the house back. It is my heart and soul. It means everything to me. We will do all we can to get it returned. It belongs to my family," she said.