Russian Art Collector Dmitry Rybolovlev Detained in Monaco

Detail of Salvator Mundi by da Vinci.
Detail of Salvator Mundi by da Vinci.
  • Dmitry Rybolovlev

    Dmitry Rybolovlev

    Wikipedia

Update 11/9/18: Unspecified charges have been filed, via Bloomberg.

Dmitry Rybolovlev, the Russian billionaire art collector who sold Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi for a record-setting price, and recently sued Sotheby's for $380 million, was detained and then released by police in Monaco this week, reported Le Monde. He has been in a long legal entanglement with Geneva-based "freeport king" and art dealer Yves Bouvier over his alleged inflated prices on 38 artworks that Rybolovlev purchased for $2 billion over a decade.

Rybolovlev's residence was searched and authorities detained him for questioning due to reported allegations of corruption and ‘influence peddling.’ Rybolovlev is allegedly tied to Philippe Narmino, the former justice minister in Monaco, who retired last year after he was accused of working under the influence of the Russian collector in his fraud case against Bouvier. An investigation is underway and no formal charges have been announced.

With a fortune built on Russian fertilizer companies, Rybolovlev bought Donald Trump’s Palm Beach mansion in 2008 for around $100 million. His art collecting through Bouvier ended when the tycoon alleged he was overcharged $1 billion.

In 2017, Rybolovlev's Salvator Mundi, a portrait of Christ as "Savior of the World," became the most expensive painting ever sold when it hammered down for $450.3 million to a Saudi prince at Christie's. The da Vinci was reportedly purchased by the prince on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Ministry of Culture and Tourism; it was said to be headed for exhibit at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, but has yet to be publicly displayed there.

Rybolovlev purchased Salvator Mundi for $127.5 million in 2013. That transaction forms a part of his lawsuits against Sotheby's and Bouvier. 

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