The Geneva prosecutor's office has decided to end the investigation into the art dealer Yves Bouvier, whom the Russian billionaire and the owner of the Monaco football club Dmitry Rybolovlev accuses of fraud with works of art worth $ 1 billion, the Swiss newspaper Le Temps reports.
The billionaire believes that Bouvier sold him paintings and other works of art at inflated prices. Earlier, the Monaco court closed a similar case and dismissed charges of fraud and money laundering from the art dealer.
Rybolovlev controlled Uralkali from 2000 to 2011. In 2011, his investment group acquired a controlling stake in the football club Monaco. According to Forbes, the billionaire is in the top 20 richest people in Russia.
Geneva prosecutor Yves Bertossa sent both parties to the case a notice of the completion of the investigation. As the document says, “the prosecutor’s office did not find grounds” to continue the case. The lawyers of the parties can appeal by January 30.
The dispute between the Russian and the art dealer has been going on since 2015; the litigation is also ongoing in Singapore and the United States. In Switzerland, the investigation consisted of 38 episodes, which featured paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Rene Magritte. As Forbes wrote in 2018, the billionaire spent $ 2 billion on these works of art.
The businessman and art dealer have worked together for almost ten years. Rybolovlev claimed that Bouvier misled him about the real value of the paintings. The art dealer denies his guilt, claiming that the billionaire was a regular customer willing to buy paintings at the maximum price.
During the trial in Monaco, Bouvier was detained in 2016, but later released on bail of € 10 million. Rybolovlev himself was also detained in Monaco in November 2018 in connection with this case. He was charged with corruption and trading in influence. The billionaire was later released, released from judicial supervision and allowed to leave the country.