Sotheby's has asked a federal judge to clear it of any wrongdoing in a long-fought case over the private sale of Leonardo da Vinci's “Christ as Salvator Mundi” to embattled "freeport king" Yves Bouvier.
Bouvier later sold the work to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev who is engaged in an ongoing legal battle with Bouvier over the steep mark-up on artworks sold to him.
The painting was sold in 2013 to a company controlled by Bouvier for $80 million by a consortium of dealers that include Warren Adelson, president of Adelson Galleries, New York art dealers Alexander Parish and Robert Simon, Sotheby’s said. Bouvier flipped the painting to Rybolovlev for $127.5 million. The dealers’ group is now threatening to sue Sotheby’s for the difference, claiming they were shortchanged on the sale, the auction house said in a filing in Manhattan federal court Monday.