In an August 21 order, the Singapore High Court lifted a freeze on the assets of the Swiss "king of freeports" and art dealer Yves Bouvier that were imposed earlier this year. Bouvier, a Singapore resident, had been accused of fraud by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev.
Rybolovlev alleged Bouvier inflated prices on 38 artworks that he sold to him. The artworks, by the likes of Modigliani and van Gogh, were marked up as much as $1 billion, contends the Russian collector.
Mark Rothko’s No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red), considered to be among the finest works in the abstract expressionist's oeuvre, was in the process of being sold to the Russian for an artist record price of €140 million ($186 million) in February when the Monaco police arrested Bouvier, reported Bloomberg. In a complaint, Rybolovlev alleged that Bouvier misled him on the price of the Rothko, along with his other purchases.
Bouvier has maintained that he sold the paintings as an independent seller, not as Rybolovlev's agent, and that he took a normal commission for the sales.
The judge ruled for Bouvier's appeal, stating, "the injunction was not obtained by the respondents to prevent the enforcement of an anticipated judgement from being frustrated."
Adding, "Instead, we are satisfied that it was deployed as an instrument of oppression to inflict commercial prejudice on Mr Bouvier."
Bouvier stated he was "delighted" with the ruling.