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Russian Oligarch Vows To Appeal Swiss Prosecutor’s Decision To Drop Case Against Art Dealer

Lawyers for Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev say he will appeal a decision by Swiss prosecutors to close his case against a top art dealer he accused of swindling him out of more than $1 billion.

The lawyers said in a statement that the decision on September 17 of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to close the case was “one-sided” and will be appealed to Geneva’s Criminal Court.

“It is essential that this case, the most serious the art world has ever known, be duly considered and finally judged on its merits,” lawyers Marc Henzelin and Sandrine Giroud said in the statement.

Rybolovlev, president of the AS Monaco football club, accused Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier of inflating prices on 38 works he acquired from 2003 to 2014.

The office of Geneva’s top prosecutor said last January that it planned to drop Rybolovlev’s case against Bouvier.

Since 2015, Rybolovlev has filed other cases against Bouvier in other countries, including Singapore, Hong Kong, New York, and Monaco.

“Today marks the end of a six-year nightmare,” said Bouvier said in a statement. “Truth prevailed,” he added, calling it “a complete victory.”

Bouvier, who consistently denied wrongdoing, had to stop almost all his art dealing activities to defend himself against the attacks and has suffered “immense damages,” the statement said.

The Russian businessman accuses Bouvier of having conned him out of $1.1 billion by inflating the price of the works of art he sold to Rybolovlev after he commissioned Bouvier to help build up an art collection.

Rybolovlev was himself charged with bribery and influence peddling in Monaco. Those charges have implicated several former ministers, forcing one, the justice minister, to retire over claims he accepted bribes.

Based on reporting by AFP

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