The sale of the Da Vinci painting led to the closure of the case against the scandalously known art dealer

2 min


On most of the paintings that Yves Bouvier helped buy a billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, he lost large sums. The dealer wanted to be imprisoned for fraud, but the successful sale of just one work forced the US authorities to close the case.

Sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “The Savior of the World” for a record $450 million led to the fact that the US authorities stopped the investigation against the scandalously known art dealer Yves Bouvier. Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev accused him of fraud: allegedly Bouvier found a picture for the businessman and sold them to him at an inflated price, appropriating part of the money from the transaction.

As a result, Rybolovlev spent huge sums on paintings, which actually cost several times cheaper. After learning about the deception of Bouvier, the billionaire tried to get rid of some of the canvases. Last year, he put up for sale the landscape of Gauguin’s “House” and was able to sell it for only $25 million, while in 2008 he bought for $85 million. Thus, only in this work Rybolovlev lost about 70% of the invested money.

A similar situation occurred with other pictures. “Flutist and naked woman” Pablo Picasso, which the businessman bought in 2010 for $35 million, went under the hammer for $5.8 million. “The Domain Of Arnheim” by Rene Magritte was sold for $12.7 million — Rybolovlev bought it for $43.5 million.

The case of fraud Yves Bouvier attracted the attention of the authorities of several countries. The central episode of the investigation in the US was Bouvier’s participation in the sale of Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Savior of the World” for $128 million — presumably, making a deal, the dealer secretly left $40 million for himself.

According to Bloomberg, the US authorities spent about a year investigating. All this time, they were looking for evidence of the guilt of Yves Bouvier and the witnesses whose testimony would confirm it. However, in the fall of 2017, Rybolovlev exhibited the “Savior of the World” for auction and sold at an unexpectedly high price — the buyer paid $450 million. Before the auction, the canvas was valued at only $100 million.

Successful sale of the picture forced investigators to close the case: the results of the auction gave the dealer’s lawyers a strong argument — in the end, Rybolovlev earned from the sale, which means that their client cannot be considered a fraud. Realizing this, the authorities decided to stop the investigation. The information was not advertised for several months, only the other day Bloomberg learned about it from their sources.

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