Saturday, November 21, 2015

Art: War Between the 'Freeport King' and the Oligarch and How Dmitry Rybolovlev Made a Quick $300 Million

From the Financial Times:

The Art Market: Feathers fly in Monaco
Bouvier/Rybolovlev lawsuits; Geneva tightens up on freeports; Paris Tableau folded into Biennale; lay-offs at Sotheby’s 
‘Tete’ by Amedeo Modigliani, which Dmitry Rybolovlev bought from ‘freeport king’ Yves Bouvier
‘Tete’ by Amedeo Modigliani, which Dmitry Rybolovlev bought from ‘freeport king’ Yves Bouvier
The increasingly vicious dispute between “freeport king” Yves Bouvier and his former client, the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, has taken two new twists.

Rybolovlev and his lawyer Tetiana Bersheda were detained and questioned by Monaco police after Bouvier ally Tania Rappo accused them of tampering with police evidence and invasion of privacy. They were released without charge but Rappo’s lawyer Frank Michel believes that an inculpation will follow shortly.

Rappo was an intermediary for the numerous art sales Bouvier made to the Russian before the two men fell out almost a year ago. She accuses Rybolovlev and Bersheda of secretly recording a conversation during a dinner party at which she was present and then turning the recording over to the police. Bersheda said that she and Rybolovlev “refute [the] futile accusations of Mrs Rappo who continuously attempts to distract attention from charges of money laundering”.

Meanwhile the Monaco appeals court has denied Bouvier’s request to throw out the case brought by Accent Delight and Xitrans — companies connected to the Rybolovlev family trust. They have accused him of fraud, money laundering and complicity in money laundering in Monaco.

Bouvier’s spokesman maintains that the case should have been vacated because the accusation “violated impartiality . . . had particularly scandalous irregularities . . . and some of the witnesses were accompanied by an interpreter who is none other than the plaintiff’s lawyer”. However, Monaco’s court of appeal recently rejected an application to quash the proceedings.

Buying from Bouvier, Rybolovlev spent some $2bn on art over eight years. His lawyers said that the alleged fraud “caused losses to the plaintiff companies of close to €1bn”. He has also brought a civil lawsuit in Singapore, seeking damages for alleged fraud.

Bouvier’s side was quick to point out that, in the light of last week’s Modigliani record sale of $170.4m, “Thanks to Yves Bouvier, Dmitry Rybolovlev possesses a set of four nudes [acquired for about $200m] . . . today the most conservative estimate for the nudes would be $500m.”
. . .
LAFA (Luxembourg Art Law and Art Finance Association) was launched a month ago in Le Freeport in the Grand Duchy. The private initiative is the brainchild of seven people involved in the art and finance sector, which include Le Freeport managing director David Arendt and Deloitte’s Adriano Picinati di Torcello, and aims to be a “centre of competence in the fields of finance and art” with debates and conferences on the subject....MUCH MORE
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