MONTE CARLO: Monaco’s Russian owner Dmitry Rybolovlev has been detained for questioning by police in the principality in an investigation into corruption.
Local media reports said that his luxury home in Monaco had been searched in a case which has been pending for a year concerning allegations that Rybolovlev had pressured local law enforcement officials in a long-running quarrel with Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier.
The row prompted the resignation in September of the head of Monaco’s judicial services.
Rybolovlev has claimed that Bouvier swindled him out of $1bn by overcharging him on 38 pieces of art he purchased over a 10-year period and is suing his former art adviser in Monaco, Singapore and Switzerland. Bouvier has denied wrongdoing.
His lawyers in Russia have declined to comment to French media on whether he was being questioned and said: “We request that the presumption of innocence in relation to Mr Rybolovlev is strictly respected.”
The Russian businessman, who earned his multi-billion-dollar fortune through the sale of two Russian fertiliser producers, bought U.S. President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach mansion in 2008 for about $100 million.
Rybolovlev spent more than $2 billion buying 38 masterpieces from Bouvier between 2003 and 2014.
In 2017, Rybolovlev sold Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Christ “Salvator Mundi” for $450m at a Christie’s auction, making it the most expensive painting ever sold.
Ryboloblev has also sued Sotheby’s for $380 million, alleging the auction house helped Bouvier defraud him. Sotheby’s has described the allegation as “desperate” and without merit.