In the latest salvo in a feud which began in 2015, the Russian billionaire’s lawyers wrote to a judge in New York stating that they planned to sue Bouvier in the UK, in addition to the cases already lodged in Switzerland, Singapore, France and Monaco.
Rybolovlev has also threatened to sue Sotheby’s in the UK after alleging that the company was complicit in Bouvier overcharging him for works including Salvator Mundi.
Bouvier acquired Salvator Mundi in an $80m private sale brokered by Sotheby’s in 2013, before the Swiss Freeport baron quickly ‘flipped’ it to Rybolovlev for $127.5m. Earlier this year Rybolovlev, consigned the work to Christie’s where it sold on November 15 in New York for $400m ($450m including premium).
Sotheby’s and Bouvier have strenuously denied allegations of wrongdoing and have attempted to have the case restricted to courts in Switzerland. Sotheby’s has also moved to block documents that they had previously disclosed in the earlier cases from being used in a potential UK litigation.
In a court filing Sotheby’s stated: “The allegations against Sotheby’s are categorically false and will not survive scrutiny under the facts or the law. Sotheby’s had no knowledge of the prices Bouvier charged in any re-sale of any painting, and Sotheby’s derived no financial benefit whatsoever from any such re-sale.”