AS Monaco club owner under investigation in inquiry over art dispute
By Matthias Galante
NICE, France (Reuters) - AS Monaco soccer club owner Dmitry Rybolovlev was put under investigation on Thursday over allegations of complicity in invasion of privacy linked to a dispute with an art dealer, the principality's top prosecutor told Reuters.
Being put under investigation in Monaco is not equivalent to being charged. It is the first step in an inquiry, in which judges inform the person in question of the allegations against them before questioning at a later stage.
The Russian billionaire said he had done nothing wrong and would cooperate fully with the judicial authorities.
"I am certain that the Monaco judicial system ... will clarify all this," he said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
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 are allegations that a lawyer for Rybolovlev taped conversations linked to the broader investigation, prosecutor Jacques Doremieux said.
Rybolovlev, who has an estimated fortune of $7 billion largely from his ownership of potash producer Uralkali, took over AS Monaco in 2011 and lives in the principality.
(Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Luke Baker and Hugh Lawson)