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Geneva court rejects Dimitry Rybolovev’s case against art dealer Yves Bouvier, but the quarrel between the two billionaires is not yet over

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Yves Bouvier at the Singapore Freeport in 2019
© 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

Swiss businessman Yves Bouvier has claimed “total victory” against Russian collector Dimitry Rybolovlev after Geneva district chief prosecutor Yves Bertossa dismissed the latest criminal complaints against him.

But it is not finished ; Rybolovlev immediately announced that he would file an appeal before a Geneva criminal court against this “unilateral” decision, signed by a single magistrate.

In 2017 and 2019, Rybolovlev filed two complaints in Geneva for gang fraud and money laundering against Bouvier and his alleged “accomplices”, Jean-Marc Peretti and Tania Rappo. The prosecutor now notes that they “relate to the same set of circumstances” investigated in Monaco from 2015. This procedure was canceled five years later on the grounds that it had proved to be “partial and unfair”. The Monegasque Court of Appeal recognized that Rybolovlev and his lawyer, Tetiana Bersheda, had benefited from “secret favors” from investigators and the police at the highest level, which “seriously undermined the rights of defendants”. Criminal investigations for corruption have been opened in Monte-Carlo and Bern, both ongoing.

Geneva prosecutor says there is no way for Bouvier to have a fair trial in Switzerland because “most of the exhibits presented” by Rybolovlev in support of his complaints “have been produced or assembled in the investigation in Monaco in an unlawful and unfair manner “and were biased by violations of an” extreme gravity “on his part.

The prosecutor goes further, saying that the accusations of fraud against Bouvier are “contradicted by many elements”. There is, in his view, no clear evidence that the Swiss dealer was acting as an “agent” for Rybolovlev and limited to a 2% commission, and their relationship continued even when the latter was informed. that Bouvier had taken a $ 40 million cut. from the sale of Salvator Mundi. Even though the Swiss dealer was far from being candid with him, Rybolovlev “did not do the most basic checks that one might expect in their business relationship”.

Bouvier claims that Rybolovlev, the owner of AS Monaco football club, “has now lost all the false lawsuits brought against him in Monaco, Geneva, Singapore, Hong Kong or New York”.

“Over the past six years he has done everything to ruin my reputation and my business,” Bouvier said. The arts journal. In 2017, Bouvier sold his transport and storage company, the largest tenant in the Geneva free port, to the French operator Chenue for an undisclosed amount. The entrepreneur is also the subject of an investigation in Geneva for alleged tax evasion of 300 million euros in profits made on his transactions with Rybolovlev.

Rybolovlev accused Bouvier of having defrauded him of 1.1 billion euros through the 2 billion euros in sales of 38 works in nine years, including the famous Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci, now owned by Saudi Arabia which acquired it for a record $ 450 million (although other works were sold at a loss by Rybolovlev at auction). Bouvier has always maintained that he is not acting as an agent but “as a reseller”, free to set his own profit margin. Claiming that Rybolovlev’s anger “had nothing to do with art matters, and everything to do with a nasty divorce” that he was going through, and the commercial competition between the two men around free ports in Asia, Bouvier promises to “publish a book to reveal the whole truth.” Bouvier also plans to launch a series of billion dollar damages lawsuits in Switzerland, Monaco and Singapore.

Marc Henzelin and Sandrine Giroud, lawyers for Rybolovlev family trusts, said in a statement: “Dmitry Rybolovlev’s family trusts have already complained about the lack of progress in the investigation by filing a denial of justice appeal several years ago. month. They add: “The double game of Yves Bouvier and his associates emerges clearly from the documents already present in the file of the public prosecutor of Geneva, including multiple emails, while new and important pieces of evidence continue to be brought to the proceedings by the complainants. . “



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