After almost a decade of disputes, art dealer Yves Bouvier and AS Monaco owner Dmitri Rybolovlev have agreed an out of court settlement of the last outstanding criminal case brought by the Russian former oligarch against the Swiss businessman. A civil case in Singapore is also part of the deal.
Rybolovlev had claimed that Bouvier had cheated him while sourcing works of art, overcharging him with hidden commission. Bouvier claimed that he was acting independently as an art dealer and was therefore entitled to make a mark-up.
The most famous piece of art involved in the collection bought and sold by Bouvier was Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, for which Bouvier had paid $83 million in 2013 before selling it to Rybolovlev for $127.5 million. While the Russian businessman felt he had been cheated to the tune of more than $40 million, the same painting was sold by him for $450,312,500, including seller’s fee of $50 million, in a Christie’s auction in New York in November 2017, setting a world record price for any artwork.
Over the long years of bitter litigation, Bouvier and Rybolovlev had damaged their own reputations. However, there was also heavy collateral damage, not least for the international image of Monaco.
In the exact words of the Financial Times: “In Monaco, charges of fraud and money laundering against Bouvier unravelled in 2019 after leaked offshore databases revealed Rybolovlev had been bribing Monegasque government officials, including the justice minister. Monaco prosecutors have charged the oligarch with influence peddling and corruption.”
In the meantime, while Bouvier and Rybolovlev have taken off the boxing gloves, the Russian is continuing with a lawsuit against Sotheby’s in New York, accusing the auction house of facilitating Bouvier’s valuations.
FEATURED IMAGE: Rybolovlev supporting AS Monaco Reuters. Centre, Salvatore Mundi