LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Brad Pitt has accused his ex-wife Angelina Jolie of seeking to "inflict harm" on him by selling her stake in their French vineyard to a Russian oligarch with "poisonous associations and intentions."
The allegations, made in new court filings as part of Pitt's lawsuit against Jolie for the sale of Chateau Miraval, are the latest barb in a bitter legal battle between the former Hollywood power couple who filed for divorce in 2016.
Last October, Jolie sold her stake in the southern France vineyard – where she and Pitt had their wedding – to Tenute del Mondo, a subsidiary of Russia-born billionaire Yuri Shefler's drinks conglomerate.
Pitt sued in February, saying the couple had agreed never to sell their interests without the other's consent, and accusing Jolie of seeking "unearned" profits.
In an amended complaint seen by AFP, Pitt's lawyers argue "Jolie sought to inflict harm on Pitt" with the sale, and describe Shefler as "a stranger with poisonous associations and intentions."
The filing received by a Los Angeles court last Friday alleges 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 Stoli Group drinks conglomerate is based in Latvia.
"Since Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Miraval's insurer has sought assurances that Shefler is not aligned with Putin and that affiliation with Stoli would not create commercial risk," the filing says.
In March, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Shelfer issued a statement saying he has been "exiled from Russia since 2002 due to my opposition to Putin," and rebranded his company in "solidarity with Ukraine."
But Pitt's latest filing says: "Despite Shefler's desperate attempt to disassociate himself from the Putin regime, the Stoli brand is now a massive international liability."
It adds: "Stoli vodka is synonymous with Russia, as the countless images of consumers pouring Stoli vodka down the drain make clear."
The complaint also lists Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman within Shefler's alleged "network of ill-reputed professional associates" which "threatens lasting harm to Miraval's reputation."
Neither the Stoli Group nor Jolie immediately responded to AFP's request for comment.