In a dramatic turn of events, the high-stakes legal battle between Russian art aficionado Dmitry Rybolovlev and Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier has reached a conclusive end. The duo has officially settled their multi-jurisdictional disputes out of court, putting an end to a saga that has captivated the art world, the FinTelegram reports.
Dmitry Rybolovlev, a name synonymous with luxury and opulence thanks to his mining empire and ownership of the AS Monaco soccer club, had accused Bouvier of a billion-euro art swindle. At the heart of this dispute was the staggering sale of 38 artworks, including the enigmatic “Salvator Mundi” by Leonardo da Vinci, which later sold for a record $450.3 million.
The Russian billionaire’s claims against Bouvier were not just confined to personal allegations; they extended to the prestigious auction house Sotheby’s in New York. In a plot worthy of a thriller, the “Salvator Mundi” had a notable stopover at Sotheby’s in 2013, where Bouvier allegedly purchased it for $83 million, only to sell it to Rybolovlev for a whopping $127.5 million, pocketing the substantial difference.
The Geneva public prosecutor’s office, led by Yves Bertossa, announced on December 7 the closure of the case. This followed the prosecutor’s recommendation for a settlement, citing insufficient grounds for a criminal case. On November 20, both parties agreed to withdraw all complaints, marking a significant moment in this high-profile dispute.
Despite the settlement, details remain under wraps due to a non-disclosure agreement. However, Bouvier’s lawyer, David Bitton, hailed the resolution as a “complete victory,” emphasizing that all allegations were dismissed globally, and no court proceeded to a full trial.
Bouvier himself expressed relief, stating that this marks the end of a “nine-year nightmare,” and thanked the judicial authorities for allowing “true justice” to prevail. This sentiment echoes across the art world, where the case has been closely followed.
Meanwhile, the saga isn’t entirely over. Rybolovlev’s case against Sotheby’s in New York is set for trial in January. The Russian magnate accuses the auction house of facilitating Bouvier’s alleged fraud, particularly in overcharging him for 15 artworks, including the “Salvator Mundi.”
As this chapter closes, the art world watches with bated breath, anticipating the outcome of the remaining litigation in New York. The story of Rybolovlev, Bouvier, and the elusive “Salvator Mundi” continues to be a testament to the complex interplay of art, power, and money. Stay tuned to The Cybervoice for exclusive updates on this and more from the world of high art and society.