Brad Pitt has accused his ex-wife Angelina Jolie of seeking to “do him harm” by selling her 50 per cent stake in a French vineyard to a Russian oligarch with “toxic associations and intent”.
The allegations, made in new court filings 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 couple who filed for divorce in 2016.
Last October, Jolie sold her share of a vineyard in southern France – where she and Pete had their wedding ceremony – to Tenute del Mondo, a subsidiary of Yuri Scheffler’s billionaire Russian-born billionaire beverage group.
Pitt filed a lawsuit in February, saying the couple had agreed not to sell their interests without the consent of the other, and accusing Jolie of seeking “unearned” profits.
In an amended complaint seen by AFP, Pitt’s lawyers said “Jolie sought to harm Pitt” with the sale, and described Scheffler as “a stranger with toxic associations and intentions.”
The lawsuit, received in a Los Angeles court last Friday, alleged that Scheffler “maintains personal and professional relationships with individuals in Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.”
Scheffler has long been an outspoken critic of Putin, the Latvian-based beverage conglomerate of the Stoli Group.
In March, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Shelfer released a statement saying he had been “exiled from Russia since 2002 for my opposition to Putin,” and renamed his company “in solidarity with Ukraine.”
But Pitt’s most recent filing says, “Despite Schaeffler’s desperate attempt to distance himself from the Putin regime, the Stoley brand is now a huge international liability.”
“Stoli vodka is synonymous with Russia, as the countless photos of consumers pouring Stoli vodka down the drain,” she adds.
“Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the insurance company of Maraval has sought assurances that Schaeffler is not allied with Putin and that affiliation with Stoly will not lead to commercial risks,” the lawsuit says.
The complaint also lists Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman among the alleged “Network of Schaeffler Professional Fellows” that “threatens to permanently damage Maraval’s reputation.”
– ‘False novel’ –
The Stoly Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A source close to the situation told AFP that Jolie decided to sell because she and her children “could not go back” to Chateau Miraval, and made several offers to her ex-husband before signing the deal with Schaeffler.
The source said Pitt’s lawsuit against Jolie was an “extension of a false narrative” and “the truth of the situation has not yet been made public.”
Once the most famous couple in Tinseltown, Pitt and Jolie, met for the first time after co-starring as married killers in the 2005 movie “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston at the time.
List 1 announced in 2018 that they had reached an amicable settlement over their children — three biological and three adopted — but any deal appears to be falling apart quickly.
Last July, Jolie won a custody battle as the special judge overseeing divorce and custody matters was excluded from the case.
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