Monaco court upholds case dismissal against art dealer accused of defrauding Russian oligarch

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Dmitri Rybolovlev of Russia, President of AS Monaco Football Club, arrives to attend AS Monaco training in La Turbie, France, March 29, 2018. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

(Reuters) – A Monaco court on Wednesday upheld an earlier ruling dismissing a case against a prominent art dealer accused by a Russian oligarch of fraud and money laundering, lawyers for the art dealer said.

Monaco’s appeals court in December ordered the closure of a preliminary investigation opened by local authorities into art dealer Yves Bouvier in 2016 in response to a complaint brought by Dmitry Rybolovlev.

Rybolovlev is the wealthy owner of Monaco’s soccer team, who in 2008 bought an oceanfront property in Palm Beach, Florida, from Donald Trump.

The Monaco Court of Revision confirmed the decision to cancel “all criminal proceedings against Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier”, Bouvier’s lawyers said in a statement.

However, Bouvier still faces criminal proceedings brought by Rybolovlev in Geneva, where he is also charged with fraud, abuse of trust and money laundering, Rybolovlev’s lawyers said.

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Rybolovlev’s lawyers have accused Bouvier of telling the oligarch’s family companies that he had negotiated a high price for artworks when “in fact he had already negotiated – for himself – a price much lower” than the payments he collected.

Bouvier’s lawyers said that the art dealer has always respected the law and the binding nature of his contracts.

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