Brad Pitt Sues Ex Angelina Jolie Over 'Unlawful' Business Deal Involving Russian Oligarch
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The former Hollywood power couple - who began dating in the mid-noughties and separated in 2016 - bought a controlling interest in Chateau Miraval SA, a French company comprising a home and vineyard in the south of France, in 2008.
Lawyers on behalf of the Fight Club star said the vineyard had 'become Pitt's passion' and under his stewardship grown into a 'multimillion-dollar international success story'.
Both reportedly agreed not to sell their respective interests in the property - where they married in 2014 - without the other's consent, according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles yesterday (Thursday 17 February).
"The vineyard became Pitt's passion – and a profitable one, as Miraval, under Pitt's stewardship, has grown into a multimillion-dollar international success story and one of the world’s most highly regarded producers of rose wine," legal documents stated.
According to the lawsuit, 46-year-old Jolie sold her stake to a Luxembourg-based spirits manufacturer controlled by oligarch Yuri Shefler, without Pitt's knowledge.
"She sold her interest with the knowledge and intention that Shefler and his affiliates would seek to control the business to which Pitt had devoted himself and to undermine Pitt’s investment in Miraval," the lawsuit claimed.
Lawyers said the move had intended to cause 'gratuitous harm' to 58-year-old Pitt, who had 'poured money and sweat equity into the wine business'.
The Miraval estate is located in the village of Correns in the south-east of the country, and was bought by the couple for around 25 million euros (£20,875,500/$28,429,125).
According to the legal documents, Pitt contributed 60 percent to the purchase price, with Jolie paying the remaining 40 percent.
Lawyers also said the wine business at the property continues to flourish and 'though she benefited from Miraval's success, Jolie had no involvement in these efforts'.
Jolie reportedly informed Pitt of her decision to sell to Shefler in January 2021, saying she had reached a 'painful decision, with a heavy heart'.
Lawyers for Pitt have requested a trial by jury.
The former couple - who were branded in the press as 'Brangelina' - reportedly fell in love on the set of 2005 film Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
Together they have six children - three of which are biological, three of which are adopted.
The Oscar-winners have been embroiled in a custody battle over their five minor children since their separation.