• gerard van weyenbergh

Russian billionaire Rybolovlev indicted in art scandal.

The Monaco justice system has canceled on Thursday the procedure for fraud brought in 2015 by Dmitri Rybolovlev against the Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier, another rebound in this case that floats suspicions of influence of the Russian billionaire in Monaco.

In January 2015, Rybolovlev, owner of A.S. Monaco soccer club, accused Yves Bouvier. He accused him of having deceived him by selling him with exorbitant margins a collection of paintings worthy of a museum including the Salvator Mundi Leonardo da Vinci, (since sold for 450 million dollars, but also Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh).

Thursday, the procedure was canceled from A to Z by the Court of Appeal of Monaco on the grounds that it was unfair.

"We won everything, and it's still a release After Singapore, Hong Kong and New York where I was sued, it's a supplementary victory," commented to AFP Bouvier.

"This is an extraordinary moment because the Court did not cancel for a problem of conformity but because it found that" all investigations were conducted in a biased and unfair manner, "reacted to AFP lawyer Denis Fayolle, citing the decision of the court.

Mr. Fayolle defends an old friend of MM. Rybolovlev and Bouvier, Tania Rappo, also continued with Mr. Bouvier. Today, neither of them are no longer charged.

"It does not affect the substance of the gigantic swindle that he is accused of," contested L Hervé Temine, one of the lawyers of Mr. Rybolovlev. The lawyer announced an appeal before the Court of Revision of Monaco: "Mr. Bouvier remains sued in Switzerland and likely to be prosecuted in Monaco, according to the decision of the Court of Revision." It should decide by autumn 2020.

In the process of being investigated, Monaco justice system has begun to suspect the untouchable Mr. Rybolovlev of having used his personal relation with police officers and ministers in Monaco to trap Mr. Bouvier.

These suspicions were supported by text messages found in the telephone of the lawyer of the billionaire, Tetiana Bersheda, and whose revelation was a scandal in the summer of 2017. According to the lawyers of Mr. Bouvier, Mr. Rybolovlev maintained his good relations with Monegasque officials with gifts, hiring at AS Monaco, a private helicopter flight, or money.

In 2018, the unthinkable happened: from the complainant's status, Mr. Rybolovlev passed to that of indicted, charged with "active bribery" and "trading in influence" .

Suspected of having helped the Russian billionaire, three high-ranking police officers, ex-minister of the seals Philippe Narmino and the former Minister of the Interior Paul Masseron were also successively questioned.

According to Mr. Franck Michel, one of Yves Bouvier's lawyers, the decision of the Court of Appeal will weigh heavily on the open procedure for corruption: "All officials may not have been charged yet" in this component. According to him, Mr. Rybolovlev was guilty of "a false accusation" to undermine the activity of Mr. Bouvier in the free ports, a prosperous sector in which relatives of the Russian power had competing projects.

"Mr Rybolovlev wanted the trial here (in Monaco) because he thought he was winning," said Michel. Journal de Arts.