The Geneva prosecutor’s office has dropped the last legal case initiated by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev against Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier, law firm Monfrini Bitton Klein said on Friday, September 17.
David Bitton, a lawyer for Mr Bouvier in Geneva, commented that: “Today marks the end of the scandalous vendetta initiated by Rybolovlev in 2015, and a complete and absolute victory for our client.”
In his final ruling, the Prosecutor confirms that, contrary to what Mr. Rybolovlev’s lawyers have claimed, there was no fraud, no mismanagement, no breach of trust and no money laundering, Bouvier’s lawyers said.
Rybolovlev, president of the AS Monaco football club, accused Bouvier of inflating prices on 38 works he acquired from 2003 to 2014.
Since January 2015, Rybolovlev and his lawyers have lost all of the nine court cases filed against Bouvier over the intervening years, including in Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, Monaco and Geneva.
“Today marks the end of a six-year nightmare,” said Bouvier. “All courts have confirmed my innocence. Truth prevailed, as I said from the very first day of his attacks. This is a complete victory.”
However, according to a number of news outlets, including Radio Free Europe, lawyers for the Russian billionaire said he will appeal the decision by Swiss prosecutors to close the case.
The lawyers said that the decision of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to close the case was “one-sided” and will be appealed to Geneva’s Criminal Court.
“It is essential that this case, the most serious the art world has ever known, be duly considered and finally judged on its merits,” lawyers Marc Henzelin and Sandrine Giroud said.
His lawyers suggested that the case against Mr Bouvier had not yet been properly judged on its merits — whether Mr Bouvier was acting as an agent for Mr Rybolovlev or as an independent art dealer in his own right. “It is essential that this case, the most serious the art world has ever known, be duly considered and finally judged on its merits,” they said.
The stand-off between the two principal players led to accusations of influence peddling in Monaco and the resignation of the justice minister at the time.
FILE PHOTO: Dmitry Rybolovlev Reuters