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Sotheby’s defeats Russian oligarch in art fraud case

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on March 31, 2018, AS Monaco President Dmitry Rybolovlev looks on during the French League Cup final football match between Monaco (ASM) and Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) at The Matmut Atlantique Stadium in Bordeaux, southwestern France. - The Russian billionaire owner of Monaco football club was in custody November 6, 2018, his lawyer confirmed, the latest twist in his legal battle with a Swiss art dealer who he claims cheated him of up to one billion dollars and Sotheby's auctioneers. Police officers also carried out a search of Dmitry Rybolovlev's luxury penthouse apartment in the principality, said a source close to the case. (Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP)NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images

Sotheby’s emerges victorious in art fraud lawsuit brought by Russian billionaire

After a legal battle, Sotheby’s has come out on top in a lawsuit filed by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. He accused the auction house of colluding with a Swiss art dealer to inflate prices for several artworks, including the renowned “Salvator Mundi” attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.

The federal jury ruled in favor of Sotheby’s, dismissing Rybolovlev’s claims of price manipulation. Despite allegations against the Swiss dealer, Yves Bouvier, he was not named as a defendant and has denied any wrongdoing.

Sotheby’s maintained its innocence throughout, arguing that it had no knowledge of any deception by Bouvier. The case spotlighted the often murky world of art transactions, where buyers can face uncertainty about authenticity and pricing.

Although Rybolovlev initially sued over multiple artworks, the focus of the jury’s decision was on the purchase of “Salvator Mundi,” which he acquired for $127.5 million in 2013 and later sold for a record-breaking $450.3 million.

The verdict reaffirms Sotheby’s commitment to integrity and transparency in the art market. However, the legal battle underscored the challenges of proving fraud in an industry known for its secrecy.

The resolution of this high-profile case marks the end of a legal saga that has captivated the art world and prompted discussions about accountability and trust in art transactions.

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