The Horrendous International Law Case Between a Billionaire, Art Dealer, and Sotheby’s

The international law case between Sotheby’s which is an auction house and Dmitry Rybolovlev is a serious case. As a Russian Billionaire, Rybolovlev is proposing a lawsuit to the auction house around $380 million in New York. The case started in 2010 and 2011 where Rybolovlev sold two Russian fertilizer producers. At that time, the billionaire should earn around $7.5 billion from the sale. The problem is that the owner of the dealer, Yves Bouvier has a debt to Rybolovlev more than $1 billion. He earned the money from overcharging offer to the Rybolovlev from 38 artworks.

Due to this case, Dmitry Rybolovlev claimed that the Sotheby’s made the largest art fraud. He said that Bouvier lied to him about the real cost and take the rest of the money for himself. From this art fraud, Bouvier earned around one-third of the total price of 38 artworks. At the same time, the auction house refutes the claim and said that it is a false allegation. Bouvier seems not afraid with the claim and said that Dymitry Rybolovlev is doing the right way. Even, he will ask the New York judge to throw out the lawsuit. For your information, the billionaire has submitted the lawsuit to the Swiss Court.

To fight against Rybolovlev and to prove that they are on the right side, the auction house and Bouvier also made a lawsuit in 2017. The unique part of the case is that Rybolovlev runs after Bouvier by making lawsuits in several countries including Monaco, Singapore, New York, and France although the lawsuits are not published yet. The lawsuit in New York is the best part for Rybolovlev to use the documents he has to strengthen the claim. Rybolovlev’s lawyer has the transactions which involved in the art fraud including a nude by Amedeo Modigliani in which Rybolovlev bought it for $118 million, Wasserchlangen II by Gustav Klimt in which he bought it for $183.8 million, and Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci which he bought it for $127.5 million. Another problem, based on the court paper, the auction house knew that Rybolovlev sent Bouvier as his representation. On the other hand, the auction house stated that Bouvier said that he wasn’t an agent. He just bought the paintings for his own and sold it to the Russian businessman. Due to the court paper, the auction house is claimed to help Bouvier dealing with the paintings overcharge. Because of this case, Sotheby’s shares decreased to $47.98 in New York.

This international legal case is not finished yet. Indeed, most lawyers are interested to analyze the case and try to decide the wrong and the right side. As a lawyer, you might also interested in this case and want to read the update to analyze it. A specific portal such as Law 360 gives the latest update of any international legal cases including the case between Rybolovlev, Bouvier, and Sotheby’s. The latest information, as well as the brief analysis made by the experts on the site, gives you new insight to analyze and also to handle the similar legal cases.


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