Brad Pitt has accused his ex-wife Angelina Jolie of “harming him” by selling her 50 percent stake in their French vineyard to a Russian oligarch with “toxic associations and intentions”.
The allegations, leveled in new court files as part of Pitt’s lawsuit against Jolie over the sale of Chateau Miraval, are the latest in a bitter legal battle between the former Hollywood power couple who filed for divorce in 2016.
Last October, Jolie sold her share of the vineyard in southern France — where she and Pitt had their marriage — to Tenute del Mondo, a subsidiary of Russian-born billionaire Yuri Shefler’s beverage conglomerate.
Pitt filed a lawsuit in February, saying the couple had agreed never to sell their interests without the consent of the other, accusing Jolie of seeking “undeserved” profit.
In an amended complaint that AFP has seen, Pitt’s attorneys state that “Jolie intended to harm Pitt” with the sale, describing Shefler as “a stranger with toxic associations and intentions.”
The file received by a Los Angeles court last Friday alleges that Shefler “maintains personal and professional relationships with individuals in Vladimir Putin’s inner circle”.
Shefler has long been an outspoken critic of Putin and his beverage conglomerate Stoli Group is based in Latvia.
In March, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Shelfer issued a statement saying he has been “banned from Russia since 2002 because of my opposition to Putin,” and rebranded his company as “solidarity with Ukraine.”
But Pitt’s latest filing says, “Despite Shefler’s desperate attempt to break away from the Putin regime, the Stoli brand is now a huge international commitment.”
It adds, “Stoli vodka is synonymous with Russia, as the countless images of consumers pouring Stoli vodka down the drain make clear.”
“Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Miraval’s insurer has requested assurances that Shefler is not on par with Putin and that ties to Stoli pose no commercial risk,” the filing said.
The complaint also states that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is part of Shefler’s alleged “network of poor professional staff”, which “threatens lasting damage to Miraval’s reputation”.
– ‘False story’ –
The Stoli Group did not immediately respond to the request for comment.
A source close to the situation told AFP that Jolie had decided to sell because she and her children “couldn’t return” to Chateau Miraval, and she had made several offers to her ex-husband before signing the deal with Shefler.
Pitt’s lawsuit against Jolie was “an extension of a false story” and “the truth about the situation has still not been made public,” the source said.
Once Tinseltown’s most prominent couple, Pitt and Jolie first got together after starring together as married hitmen in the movie “Mr. and mrs. Smith” from 2005. Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston at the time.
The A-listers announced in 2018 that they’d reached an amicable settlement over their children — three biological and three adopted — but each deal seemed to be falling apart quickly.
Last July, Jolie took a victory in their custody battle when the private judge overseeing their divorce and custody cases was disqualified from the case.
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