Who is Yuri Shefler? Brad Pitt calls Russian oligarch 'a stranger with poisonous intentions'
It seems the US will soon see another Hollywood blockbuster trial after it was reported that Brad Pitt has sued his former wife Angelina Jolie for selling her share in a French vineyard known as Chateau Miraval, which they purchased together in 2008. The 47-year-old actress reportedly sold her part to a Russian oligarch Yuri Shefler after which Pitt accused her of pushing him into a business association with "a stranger with poisonous associations and intentions".
The lawsuit filed by the legal team of ‘The Lost City’ star states that the wine business thrived and became a “multimillion-dollar international success story” under their client’s leadership but “through the purported sale, Jolie sought to inflict harm on Pitt”. “Jolie knew and intended that Shefler and his affiliates would try to control the business Pitt had built and to undermine Pitt's investment in Miraval,” the official papers noted.
The suit also went on to claim that Shefler "has gained notoriety through cut-throat business tactics and dubious professional associations" and partnering with him "jeopardizes the reputation of the brand Pitt so carefully built," before adding, “All of this is the direct result of Jolie's unlawful and tortious conduct. In violation of the parties' agreement, Jolie has sought to force Pitt into partnership with a stranger, and worse yet, a stranger with poisonous associations and intentions.”
Who is Yuri Shefler?
Yuri Shefler, who is reportedly a graduate from the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, founded a beverage company called SPI Group in 1997. The firm makes and trades in alcoholic drinks under 380 brands in 170 nations, as reported by Forbes, which also stated that the company’s “best known brand is Stolichnaya vodka, which Shefler bought from state-owned VVO Soyuzplodoimport for $285,000 in 1997.”
But the 54-year-old businessman faced legal issues in 2001 after it was alleged that he misappropriated the alcohol brand Stolichnaya Vodka and was forced out of Russia. “He relocated to Latvia, where he still has major factories today before settling in the UK in 2002,” The South China Morning Post reported.
Besides, Shefler is also the owner of Stoli Group, which looks after “the production, management, and distribution of most of SPI’s global spirits portfolio: Stoli Vodka, Elit Vodka, Bayou Rum, Gator Bite Rum Liqueurs, Cenote Tequila and Se Busca Mezcal.” The group also has a separate wine estate known as Tenute del Mondo Group, which was founded in 2006. “Since then, they have bought part of the Italian Marchesi de Frescobaldi, Argentina’s Achaval Ferrer, Spain’s Arinzano and Melipal, and now Jolie’s share of Chateau Miraval,” The South China Morning Post added.
Speaking of Shefler’s personal life, the liquor tycoon lives like a king with his Russian Victoria’s Secret model wife Tatiana Kovylina and four children in a seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom abode in Weybridge, Surrey, after buying it for $11 million in 2005. The luxe property also includes a pool complex, two kitchens, a huge sauna and solarium, an orangery, a gym, parking for 10 cars, and a staff flat. Two more expensive properties that Shefler owns are a holiday home in St Jean Cap Ferrat on the Cote d’Azur and the Tulchan Estate on Speyside.