On Wednesday 4 March 2020, Geneva’s head prosecutor, Yves Bertossa, held a new hearing in the Rybolovlev v. Bouvier case. Our story is now coming to its conclusion. This latest and last episode is about all the money that is missing or flowing like water, the money that dictates the shifting alliances. We discover that Alp Services, the detective agency, has been in financial difficulty due to Yves Bouvier’s unpaid bills; and that after having faced Marc Bonnant in court during the lawyer’s defence of his ex-wife, Dmitry Rybolovlev invited him to join his legal team and fight Yves Bouvier. The “Mozart of the Bar” agreed but then had to recuse himself because of a conflict of interest. The lawyer may still be able to play a decisive role in the affair, however, by orchestrating an out-of-court settlement.

Anne-Gaëlle Amiot for Heidi.news


It might well be Mark Rothko’s most beautiful work, but it has been slumbering in a crate in Singapore Freeport for the past five years. Rothko’s №6 has been placed under seal and is at the heart of the conflict between Yves Bouvier and Dmitry Rybolovlev. The former bought €2.5 million worth of Petrus wine from the Moueix family who owned the painting. He was hoping to sell it on to the second man at a €60-million profit, and that led to his arrest in Monaco. However, the canvas might also form the basis for an amicable agreement because its value has gone through the roof.

Anne-Gaëlle Amiot for Heidi.news

Yves Bouvier used to be known as the “freeport king”. He was in the process of building an empire, with franchises all over the world, when his arrest in Monaco and the ensuing war with his best client, Dmitry Rybolovlev, stopped him in his tracks. His two free ports — one in Luxembourg, the other in Singapore — are no more than ticking over: the former is half empty and the latter has never turned a profit. Singapore Freeport’s main tenant, the auction house Christie’s, has left recently, as have several banks who were storing gold there. Undeterred, the Genevan dreams of opening further free ports in Dubai and Vladivostok, but to do so he must wait for his feud with the Russian oligarch to end.

Anne-Gaëlle Amiot for Heidi.news


Back to the former escort Sarah and her special assignments. This time, the Genevan businessman’s instructions are to seduce a super sleuth from the Swiss tax administration at a conference in Yverdon. Heidi.news has had access to their highly revealing conversations. They show that Yves Bouvier tried to entrap the federal investigator in Paris, with the aim of derailing the investigation into the 165 million francs he reportedly owes in tax. Instead, Sarah becomes a turncoat and confesses everything to the authorities. Shortly afterwards, she finds herself in prison for using stolen credit cards. The senior official to whom she fed stolen documents is of no help to her.

Anne-Gaëlle Amiot for Heidi.news

The “Zahia affair”, named after the French-Algerian call girl who slept with the French footballers Ribéry and Benzema, resurfaced in France in February 2020 when a lawyer applied to reopen the case. His aim was to implicate the Genevan Yves Bouvier, basing his request on the statement of a certain Sarah. Heidi.news has pieced together the whole story and cross-checked it with hundreds of emails and text messages. Going well beyond Zahia’s case, which garnered huge media coverage, what these documents reveal is a more problematic system of grooming and tempting young women with a career in reality TV, then “offering” them to friends and business partners of Yves Bouvier, many of whom were active in the art world.

Anne-Gaëlle Amiot for Heidi.news

They had known each other for 13 years. Their relationship was intense, at least in financial terms, generating two billion francs in transactions. One made his fortune on the back of the other, but in return he assembled one of the world’s finest art collections. Yves Bouvier’s arrest in Monaco on 25 February 2015, though, has sparked all-out war. Or rather: wars. The first was a surface conflict, played out in front of courts in Monaco, Singapore, Hong Kong, Paris, Geneva and New York. The second was subterranean, with detectives hired by both sides as the foot soldiers. Their objective: to destroy the enemy, no holds barred. Yves Bouvier was quickest on the draw.



Where we learn how the margins Yves Bouvier applied to his sales to Dmitry Rybolovlev helped his business fortunes soar. These allowed the Genevan to invest anywhere and everywhere, including Angola and France, in the company of some less-than-savoury characters. He also lived the high life, buying boats, classic cars, a private jet and prestigious real estate in Paris and Geneva, as if seeking to emulate his oligarch client. He had an unrivalled talent and desire for sniffing out masterpieces, but his loyalty depended on the circumstances. He was, for example, involved in double-dealing regarding the Russian couple’s divorce proceedings, even going so far as to help set a trap for Elena Rybolovleva in Cyprus.

Anne-Gaëlle Amiot for Heidi.news


The first favour Yves Bouvier did for Rybolovlev, free of charge, amounted to a charm offensive that, like La Fontaine’s fox, lured the Russian into dropping a cheese worth several hundred million francs. Chagall, Picasso, Modigliani, Van Gogh: their initial encounter, whether fortuitous or not, led to the assembly of a collection worthy of Le Petit Trianon. It all took place under the guidance of a mysterious Bulgarian chaperone, Tania Rappo, who would simultaneously be best friends with one man and closest ally to the other, their relationship greased by a fantastic profit-sharing arrangement.


Yves Bouvier started out with nothing — or as good as. His father was first a model apprentice and then an employee before finally buying Natural Le Coultre, a transport and shipping firm he passed on to his son in 1997. It was only when the company began to transport works of art rather than Ikea furniture that Yves, a Swiss snowboarding pioneer, began to ski less and work more. Indeed, he worked so hard that he became the preferred partner of many major museums and art galleries. In time, he suggested to them that he take care not only of transporting the paintings but the proceeds from selling them too.

Anne-Gaëlle Amiot for Heidi.news

Heidi.news

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