The Swiss businessman Yves Bouvier, the head of art storage, shipping, and servicing company Natural Le Coultre, as well as the Geneva, Luxembourg, and Singapore freeports, who was arrested in Monaco on suspicion of defrauding art collectors continues to escalate, with new facts in the case coming to light.
Swiss businessman’s alleged victims are said to include a number of wealthy individuals in the US, Asia, and the UK, including owner of the Monaco football club, Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. With a net worth estimated at $8.5 billion and an art collection that includes Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, and Claude Monet, Rybolovlev is listed by Forbes as the world’s 160th wealthiest person in the world, even after his ex-wife was awarded fifty-percent of his fortune in their 2014 divorce settlement.
Now The Financial Times reports that a court in Singapore, where Bouvier resides, has now ordered a worldwide freeze of all the businessman’s assets. This includes a prohibition to divest any shares in companies worth up to $500 million.
The court has also ordered Bouvier to hand over a 1951 Mark Rothko painting, entitled No.6 (violet, vert et rouge), which is at the heart of a dispute between the disgraced Swiss businessman and an unspecified client. Swiss police conducted two raids at the Bouvier-owned Geneva freeport. One of the raids took place in the offices of Bouvier’s art storage, shipping, and servicing company Natural Le Coultre. The second raid occurred in the Post Impressionist-specialised Gallerie Nelombos, run by his associate Jean-Marc Paretti – according to the FT.
Now Forbes Magazine has revealed the specific reasons why the Russian billionaire Rybolovlev, filed the criminal complaint against Bouvier that started it all. Bouvier’s downfall was set in motion on New Year’s Eve, during an evening which Rybolovlev enjoyed in the company of Sandy Heller, über-collector Steve Cohen’s art adviser, according to Forbes. It was then that Heller told Rybolovlev about a stunning Amedeo Modigliani nude that her brother Steven had sold for a whopping $93.5 million to an undisclosed buyer.The Russian billionaire quickly realised that the painting was the same Modigliani he had previously bought from Bouvier for $118 million.
Rybolovlev, seeing red, then filed the criminal complaint against Bouvier in Monaco’s Palais of Justice just nine days later, claiming that Bouvier had overcharged him on several paintings worth hundreds of millions of dollars, including a Leonardo da Vinci he purchased for $127 million, which the Russian oligarch believes Bouvier had bought for $50 million, according to FT.B ouvier, who is currently on a €10 million bail of course denies all allegations. A statement, issued by Bouvier’s solicitors when he was released, said that he would prove the “fantasy and non-existence” of the “alleged damages,” according to FT.