The legal dispute that led to a major crisis in Monaco’s judicial system during 2019 continued on Tuesday this week in the Criminal Court, although it was more of a sub-plot than the central drama.

Yves Bouvier, the art dealer who had been accused by Dmitri Rybolovlev of cheating him with hidden commissions, has in turn accused the Russian billionaire’s lawyer of defaming him by calling him a predator in the art market.

“I filed a complaint against Tetiana Bersheda for insulting remarks she made towards me,” he told local French language daily Monaco Matin. “She called me the biggest predator of the art market. Since the beginning of this case, communicators worked to destroy my image, it was part of a demolition strategy against me and my reputation.”

Ms Bersheda was not present for the hearing, but was represented by two other lawyers, Me Thomas Giaccardi, of the Monaco bar, and Me Martin Reynaud, from Paris. Me Reynaud asked for the case to be thrown out on the basis that the alleged remarks were made in English.

Me Michel, for Mr Bouvier, called his client “a very honest, remarkable man.” The court heard a great deal more legal wrangling about the translation from English to French of words such as ‘filthy predator,’ while Me Reynaud claimed that the Monegasque court did not have jurisdiction to judge “remarks made in English, by a Ukrainian and Swiss, against a Swiss, in England.”

Yves Bouvier – himself a multimillionaire – said he hopes for a conviction “for the principle of it,” and is claiming 30,000 euros in damages. The court will deliver its judgment on January 24.

PHOTO: Yves Bouvier