Dmitry Rybolovlev challenged the sharks of the art market

The billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev sued one of the most famous entrepreneurs in the global art market, Swiss Yves Bouvier, with claims amounting to more than half a billion dollars.
Rybovlev got acquainted with Bouvier in 2003, and since then, with the help of the Swiss mediator, bought 37 masterpieces of world art, including Matisse, Renoir, Rodin, Degas, Gauguin, El Greco, Toulouse-Lautrec. Purchases cost Rybolovlev, according to Bloomberg, about $ 2 billion. Investments in immortal works of art are considered to be among the most profitable in the long term. With each decade, their value can only increase. But how much are they specifically worth? The answer can only be given by the market - just as much as the next buyer is ready to pay for them.

It seems that the most honest way to evaluate masterpieces is auction bidding. The world's most famous auction houses - Sotheby's and Christie's, which account for almost a third of all auction sales of works of art. Alas, their honesty is in question today. Several years ago, they were accused of price collusion, overcharging of commission payments and deception of antiques sellers for €446 million. According to the decision of the American court, Sotheby's paid multimillion fines, and former head of the auction house Alfred Taubman spent a year in prison and personally paid a fine of $7.5 million .

Rybolovlev for many years was sure that Bouvier works as an agent on the basis of a contract with him, according to which he receives 2% of the commission from each transaction. However, it turned out that Bouvier overstated the price of almost every work of art that passed to Rybolovlev through his hands, from 30 to 50%.

It turned out to be accidental, KP said, when Rybolovlev was talking to Sandy Heller, an adviser to American billionaire Stephen Cohen. Cohen previously owned a picture of Amadeo Modigliani "Reclining Nude with Blue Cushion", which, with the mediation of Bouvier, was purchased by Rybolovlev. The American sold the painting to Modigliani Bouvier for $93.5 million, and Bouvier asked for $118 million from Rybolovlev. The Russian collector began to check all the transactions with Bouvier, then the picture of a large-scale fraud of the Swiss unfolded. In early 2015, Rybolovlev turned to the police. In late February 2015 Bouvier was detained in Monaco. The Swiss was charged with fraud and complicity in money laundering. He spent 72 hours in custody, after he was released on bail of €10 million. The Singapore court ordered to freeze Bouvier's assets.

The process of Rybolovlev versus Bouvier shook the world art market. Traditionally, its members prefer not to wash dirty linen in public because any scandal undermines the faith of potential buyers in the high cost of art rarities. The fact that the accused was Bouvier, gives the event a special significance.

Living in Singapore, Yves Bouvier is the head and co-owner of Natural Le Coultre, specializing in the storage, packaging and transportation of works of art. He is the initiator of the creation of the world's largest network of freerports-huge warehouses-galleries of works of art where they are in the "free port" mode, that is, they are imported, stored and exported without paying customs duties and, it should be noted, special control by the police. He is the majority shareholder of the freeport in Luxembourg and Singapore and participates in the capital of freeport in Geneva and Zurich. Bouvier also participated in the creation of freeport in Shanghai and Beijing. The Beijing Freeport of Culture occupies 120,000 square meters. A special mode of freeport is extremely convenient for working with works of art collectors, art dealers and museums, among which the authority of Yves Bouvier has not been questioned for many years. However, the media speculated that a special mode of freeport allows you to use them not only for legitimate work in the art market, but also for money laundering.

Yves Bouvier was dragged into other judicial histories. Since 2013, the process of the Consortium of dealers in the composition of Warren Adelson, President of Adelson Galleries, and New York art dealers Alexander Parish and Robert Simon against Iva Bouvier and Sotheby's in connection with the deal with the painting by Leonardo da Vinci "The Savior of the World," reported "Kommersant" ". The consortium sold it to Yves Bouvier in 2013 with the mediation of Sotheby's for $80 million, after which the Swiss immediately resold it to Rybolovlev for $127.5 million. Dealers accuse Bouvier and Sotheby's of inflicting financial damage on them.

Another loud process with Bouvier is the suit of the stepdaughter of Pablo Picasso, Catherine Hutin-Blay. She accuses Bouvier of stealing two of her mother's portraits, Hutin-Blay Jacqueline Rock, by Picasso, from the storehouse rented by Catherine. Then these portraits at a greatly inflated price were sold to the collection of Rybolovlev.

In court on the lawsuit of Dmitry Rybolovlev, Yves Bouvier insists that he acted not as an agent of a collector, but as a free dealer who has the right to independently determine the size of his commission. In media outlook comments, the processes are assessed ambiguously. However, Rybolovlev decided on a bold step - he began to sell the paintings bought from Bouvier at a loss for himself.

According to Bloomberg, Rybolovlev sold at auction the following paintings: Gauguin's "Otahi" (alone) Gustav Klimt's "Water Snakes II" and Rodin's sculpture "Eternal Spring", on which he lost more than $100 million from the amount paid for them. Another $120 million the collector lost at a recent sale of paintings by Gauguin, Picasso and Magritte. According to RBC, painting by Paul Gauguin "House" Rybolovlev bought for $85 million in 2008, and at auction it was sold for $25 million.