Russian Billionaire Makes $30 Million Point Over (Alleged) $25 Million Swindle

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Not the $118 million bargain Dmitry Rybolovlev thought he was getting.

Pablo Picasso’s stepdaughter has gotten her paintings back so that oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev can prove that his artistic consigliere screwed him andSteve Cohen over big-time.

But Mr. Rybolovlev’s decision is much more than just a chivalrous, expensive gesture. The man from whom he bought the portraits, Yves Bouvier, is also Mr. Rybolovlev’s adversary in what has become perhaps the largest feud in the art world today. And by returning the art in such a public fashion, he is drawing attention to their broader fight.

For the past year, Mr. Rybolovlev has been battling Mr. Bouvier in courtrooms in Paris, Monaco, Singapore and Hong Kong in a dispute that has shed light on some of the murkier corners of the international art market. He has accused Mr. Bouvier, who helped him amass his collection, of fraud by overcharging him as much as $1 billion for multiple pieces of art...The feud began last year, Mr. Rybolovlev said, when by chance he met an art adviser over lunch during a Caribbean vacation and discovered that — in a purchase arranged by Mr. Bouvier — he had paid $118 million for a Modigliani painting that a hedge fund billionaire, Steven A. Cohen, had sold for only $93.5 million.

The Billionaire, the Picassos and a $30 Million Gift to Shame a Middleman [NYT]

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