Dmitry Rybolovlev appeared in court in Monaco on Thursday morning charged with “being complicit in violating privacy” and was released to appear at a later date.
The Russian billionaire, and majority owner of AS Monaco, is involved in a long-running dispute with Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier over claims that he was overcharged for a number of iconic art works when Bouvier acted as a middleman.
The criminal charge against Rybolovlev stems from a complaint by Monaco resident Tania Rappo, who introduced Bouvier to Rybolovlev in 2003. She was briefly held in custody along with Bouvier in February 2015, under suspicion of moneylaundering.
The high profile affair took a dramatic turn with the sudden resignation and later arrest of Monaco’s top judicial official, Philippe Narmino, four weeks ago. Narmino, and a lawyer acting for Rybolovlev, Tetiana Bersheda, had come under suspicion of colluding in the original arrest of Bouvier through an exchange of text messages. Both have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.
Monaco’s public prosecutor Jacques Doremieux told AFP that Rybolovlev’s brief court appearance Thursday was a “procedural formality”.
“There’s no questioning and it is referred to another date to be heard on its merits.”
No date has been set for a full hearing.
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