One of the remarkable sub-plots to the Bouvier-Rybolovlev conflict has been the Russian billionaire’s outsized influence in Monaco. HSBC’s private bank has been implicated in a scheme to create a pretext for the arrest of Bouvier and Tania Rappo, Rybolovlev’s former friend and advisor.
The Wall Street Journal provides a brief timeline of how HSBC might have cooperated with Rybolovlev to give authorities a reason to make the arrest:
On Feb. 17, HSBC sent an initial letter to Monaco police listing three accounts linked to companies that invested in properties that Ms. Rappo held. The letter said Mr. Bouvier’s name was also on those accounts and he was either a proxy in the related companies or received profits from them.
On Feb. 25, Mr. Bouvier was detained in Monaco after traveling there to visit to his Russian client. Ms. Rappo was also detained, and told the police that HSBC must have erased her husband’s name on the accounts and pasted in Mr. Bouvier’s name instead, according to legal filings.
On Feb. 27, after the bank’s phone call, HSBC wrote to the head of Monaco’s police force, to clarify that Mr. Bouvier wasn’t linked to the accounts. The bank apologized for its error, according to a copy of the letter seen by the Journal. […]
In June, […] [T]he attorney wrote that, “It is impossible to exclude the possibility that [HSBC’s] false statement was made at the request of Mr. Rybolovlev, who is furthermore one of the biggest customers of the bank.”