Billionaire Collector Dmitry Rybolovlev Denies ‘Panama Papers’ Allegations

Rybolovlev claims the information in the story is inaccurate.

Dmitriy Rybolovlev. Photo: Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images


In light of the allegations that emerged on April 3 against Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev as part of the explosive “Panama Papers” leak involving clients of the law firm Mossack Fonseca, Rybolovlev has come out stating that the allegations are inaccurate.

As per a statement from the Rybolovlev family trust, Rybolovlev maintains the following:

As the Rybolovlev family has previously indicated, the structures were set up completely legitimately for the purposes of asset protection and estate planning. Moreover, they were completely unrelated to the Rybolovlev divorce as they were established in 2002, six years before proceedings began. The use of Xitrans Finance as a holding entity to constitute a remarkable art collection has been publicly disclosed in numerous publications worldwide and is perfectly legitimate.

Related: What You Need to Know about the Latest Panama Papers Revelations

In a lengthy report published April 3, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists reporter Will Fitzgibbon wrote:

[I]n 2002 Mossack Fonseca had incorporated Xitrans Finance Ltd in the British Virgin Islands. The offshore company, no more than a post office box in sunny Tortola, was a mini-Louvre museum when it came to its assets; Xitrans Finance Ltd owned paintings by Picasso, Modigliani, Van Gogh, Monet, Degas and Rothko. It also bought Louis XVI style desks, tables and drawers made by some of Paris’s grandest furniture makers.

As the marriage broke down, according to notes from a court hearing sent via email to Mossack Fonseca in January 2009, Dmitri [sic] used Xitrans Finance Ltd to move these luxury items out of Switzerland to Singapore and London, beyond her reach. While Xitrans Finance Ltd was held by the Rybolovlev family trust, according to Mossack Fonseca’s records, only Dmitri [sic] Rybolovlev held shares in the company, despite Elena’s claim that Xitrans bought assets “on behalf of herself and her husband.”

Tetiana Bersheda, an attorney for Rybolovlev further told artnet News:

The ‘Panama Papers’ story contains inaccurate information. As long as offshore jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands continue to exist, the use of companies incorporated in these jurisdictions is neither illegal nor immoral as such. The purpose of such use may by contrast go against the law in certain circumstances.

The description and references to the divorce proceedings of Mr. Dmitry Rybolovlev are misleading. First, the article fails to state that the ex-spouses Rybolovlev amicably settled their matrimonial dispute and announced in a joint statement dated 20th October 2015 that all the proceedings had been terminated and the ex-wife had definitely withdrew all claims against Mr. Rybolovlev and related parties and entities.”

Rybolovlev’s high stakes international battle Yves Bouvier continues to proceed, with the Russian billionaire pursuing legal action against the so-called “Freeport King,” in Monaco, Switzerland, and Singapore.

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