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AS Monaco club owner under investigation in probe over art dispute

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AS Monaco club owner under investigation in probe over art dispute

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NICE, France (Reuters) – A Monaco judge is investigating AS Monaco football club owner Dmitry Rybolovlev over allegations of complicity in invasion of privacy as part of a dispute with an art dealer, a source close to the Russian billionaire said on Thursday. Being put under investigation in Monaco is not equivalent to being charged. It is the first step in a probe, in which judges inform the person in question of the allegations against them before questioning at a later stage. Judicial authorities in Monaco declined to comment. In a statement emailed to Reuters, Rybolovlev said that he had done nothing wrong and would fully cooperate with the judicial authorities. “I am certain that the Monaco judicial system … will clarify all this,” he said in the statement, in which he also repeated allegations that he has been a victim of fraud. The case is linked to an investigation into a dispute between Rybolovlev and Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier. That dispute led to the resignation last month of the head of Monaco’s judicial services after Le Monde daily wrote about connections between Rybolovlev and Monegasque justice officials. All those involved have denied wrongdoing. The matter at stake in Thursday’s move is the taping by a lawyer for Rybolovlev of conversations linked to the broader investigation, French media said. Rybolovlev, who has an estimated fortune of $7 billion (£5.3 billion) largely from his ownership of potash producer Uralkali, took over AS Monaco in 2011 and lives in the principality.

(Reporting by Matthias Galante; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Luke Baker and Hugh Lawson)
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