The ‘Brangelina’ saga bursts into the war in Ukraine: actor Brad Pitt has accused his ex-wife Angelina Jolie of having sold his shares in a prized French vineyard to a Russian oligarch friend of President Vladimir Putin, with the sole purpose of hurt ex-husband.
The allegations are contained in a complaint filed by Pitt and linked to the sale of a portion of the home and vineyard property of the famous Chateau Miraval, in France, which represented the couple’s ‘love nest’ before the tumultuous divorce, which took place in 2016. .
In October, Jolie sold her shares to ‘Tenute del Mondo’, a company headed by Russian billionaire Yuri Shefler, producer of Russian vodka Stoli. Pitt claims the couple reached an agreement that neither of them would ever sell their shares without the other’s consent. The actress would have broken the deal.
The ex-husband’s lawyers argue that Angelina’s decision would have been to “inflict pain” on the actor not only by selling the shares, but by choosing a controversial character. From the papers deposited at the registry of the Los Angeles court, the buyer, the billionaire Shefler, defines himself as an entrepreneur with “malicious associations and intentions” who “maintains personal and professional relationships with Vladimir Putin’s inner circle”. Precisely this step, for Pitt’s lawyers, would undermine the sale of the shares. “Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022 – the lawyers write – Miraval has sought reassurance that Shefler was not linked to Putin and that his affiliation to Stoli would not create commercial risks”. In March, Shefler himself had issued a statement saying that he had left Russia “since 2002 precisely because of opposition to Putin” and had changed the name of his company, Stolichnaya, calling it Stoli “as a sign of solidarity with Ukraine” .
But the actor’s lawyers are not enough. “Despite Shefler’s desperate attempt to distance himself from Putin’s regime – they write – the brand is now at international risk”. “Stoli vodka – they add – is synonymous with Russia as the countless images of consumers pouring the vodka make it clear”. The complaint also cites an alleged link between the Russian billionaire and Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman, considered by Washington to be the instigator of the murder of the journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi. Shefler is said to be part of a “network of characters with a compromised reputation” and “threatening that of Miraval”.
Pitt and Jolie had taken over part of the estate in 2008, together with a share of the legendary vineyards, in the village of Correns, just over 900 inhabitants in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. The two actors flew over the estate by helicopter, attracting the attention of the inhabitants of the small pre-Romanesque village, then one day they showed up together, hand in hand, like the new winemakers. They had leased the shares for three years and finally paid 60 million for the purchase of part of the property, including five hundred hectares of Miraval.