NEWSJudicial repercussions of the sale of Château Miraval

Judicial repercussions of the sale of Château Miraval

U.S. actor Brad Pitt is accusing his ex-wife Angelina Jolie of bad faith over the sale of their stake in their joint French winery to a Russian oligarch. In a new statement of claim received by a Los Angeles court last Friday, Pitt’s lawyers oppose the sale to a company owned by Russian billionaire Yuri Shefler, whom they accuse of having close contacts with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin’s entourage.

USA (Los Angeles) – New accusation: Jolie had sold her share of the Château Miraval in Provence to a “stranger with toxic connections and intentions “criticized Pitt’s lawyers in the statement of claim. In this way, they said, the U.S. actress and filmmaker had tried to “harm” Pitt. 

Pitt and Jolie each owned half of the vineyard in southern France, where they also celebrated their wedding, until last October. But then Jolie sold her half to Tenute del Mondo, a subsidiary of Russian billionaire Yuri Shefler’s beverage conglomerate. Pitt filed a civil suit against the sale in February.

According to him, the couple had agreed after their divorce in 2016 not to sell their shares without each other’s consent. He also accused Jolie of making “unearned” profits from the sale.

Following the start of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, Pitt’s legal team now expanded the allegations. The new statement of claim says Shefler maintained “personal and professional relationships with individuals in Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.” 

Despite “Shefler’s desperate attempt to distance himself from the Putin regime,” the latter’s “Stoli vodka brand is now a massive international liability” to the Miraval winery’s business activities. Stoli vodka is “synonymous with Russia, as the countless images of consumers pouring Stoli vodka down the drain make clear.”

The lawsuit now also lists Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of Shefler’s “network of ill-reputed professional associates.” This, it says, threatens to “permanently damage” the winery’s reputation. The Stoli Group did not initially comment on the allegations when asked.

Shefler, however, has long been an outspoken critic of Putin. His beverage conglomerate, Stoli, is based in Latvia. In March, after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Shefler stressed that he had been “living in exile since 2002 because of my opposition to Putin” and invoked his “solidarity with Ukraine.”

An informed source told the AFP news agency that Jolie decided to sell to Shefler because she and her children were unable to return to the estate. She had made several offers to her ex-husband before signing the deal with Shefler, he said. Pitt’s lawsuit against Jolie is “a continuation of a false narrative” and “the truth of the situation has still not been made public.”

Pitt and Jolie were once Hollywood’s dream couple. The two got together in 2005 while filming the romantic comedy “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” At the time, Pitt was still married to fellow showgirl Jennifer Aniston. 

After years of dating, Jolie and Pitt married in 2014 at her estate. In September 2016, Jolie filed for divorce after a total of eleven years of relationship with Pitt. A years-long custody battle over their three biological and three adopted children followed, as well as a legal battle over their joint properties. After a war of the roses, they finally reached a custody agreement for their six children in late 2018.

Jolie and Pitt had purchased Château Miraval in 2008 for 40 million euros. The 500-hectare estate includes 50 hectares of vineyards. The estate is located near the small village of Correns in the Var department.

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