Swiss prosecutors have dropped a case brought by Dmitry Rybolovlev, president of the AS Monaco football club, against a top art dealer he accused of swindling him out of hundreds of millions of euros.
The Russian oligarch and Monaco resident has alleged Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier charged him inflated prices on dozens of works he acquired for more than €1.9 billion.
He has brought cases against the dealer in Monaco, Singapore and Switzerland.
Swiss newspaper Le Temps reported Monday that Geneva’s top prosecutor Yves Bertossa had decided to drop the Swiss side of the case, after Rybolovlev lost before a Monaco appeals court in December 2019.
Bertossa’s office told AFP on Tuesday the prosecution had “announced to the parties its intention to close the case”.
It provided no further details, but according to Le Temps, the parties have until 30th January to oppose the closure.
Rybolovlev had commissioned Bouvier to help build up an art collection to rival a small museum, including works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet, Rodin, Matisse and Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’.
Their relationship soured when Rybolovlev accused Bouvier of overcharging him.
The Russian later sold the da Vinci at auction in 2017 for a record €382 million.
Rybolovlev was meanwhile himself charged with bribery and influence peddling and Monaco’s justice minister was forced to retire over claims he accepted bribes.
He made his fortune in the fertiliser industry after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Forbes business magazine ranks him number 224 on its list of the world’s richest people for 2020 and Forbes Monaco ranks him as the seventh richest resident in Monaco, with a net worth of €5.5 billion.
Meanwhile, Dmitry Rybolovlev is spending around €165 million to transform the small Greek island of Skorpios into a luxury resort.
Rybolovlev brought the 200-acre island off the western coast of Greece from Aristotle Onassis’ granddaughter for $153 million in 2013.
The project will include a spa, villas, vineyard, amphitheatre and an extension of the harbour to accommodate large yachts.
Sergey Chernitsyn, the adviser to the Rybolovlev family, told Insider that Rybolovlev and his family will personally use the resort at times, or rent out the entire complex for a minimum seven-day period for around €1 million a week.
(Monaco Life with AFP)