Outraged Brad Pitt accuses Angelina Jolie of selling her half of his beloved Miraval French winery to Russian oligarch with 'poisonous associations' and 'cutthroat business tactics' to 'inflict harm' on him in retaliation over custody fight

          The battle of the exes Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has taken a dark new turn.Pitt, 58, has accused the Maleficent actress of trying to damage him by secretly selling her stake in his French vineyard to 'a Russian oligarch' with 'poisonous intentions' - which allegedly include a plan to take complete control of the multi-million dollar business - according to legal documents exclusively obtained by DailyMail.com.Jolie, 47, sold half of the thriving Chateau Miraval winery to a company run by Yuri Shefler, the owner of the company that makes the flagship Russian vodka Stolichnaya - renamed Stoli. Having made 'desperate attempts to disassociate himself from the Putin regime, the Stoli brand is now a massive international liability,' the papers allege, citing Putin's invasion of Ukraine.'Stolichnaya has been the object of boycotts throughout the world. 'The US Treasury Department designated Shefler as an "oligarch in the Russian Federation" in an unclassified report to Congress made pursuant to the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017,' according to the documents filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court on June 3.The South of France chateau, where the couple wed in 2014, became Pitt's 'passion' and under his guidance has become one of the world's most highly-regarded producers of rosé wine, according to the court papers.But in October 2021, Jolie 'purported to sell her interest to Tenute del Mondo, a hostile third-party competitor bent on taking control of Miraval', the papers filed by Pitt's attorneys claim.Jolie's motivation for the sale was to 'inflict harm on Pitt,' the papers allege.And sources point out that the timing of the sale was linked to a judge's decision to issue a tentative ruling giving Pitt 50/50 custody in the couple's bitter custody battle over their five minor children at the time.'Jolie was livid,' one source told DailyMail.com, 'and vindictive.' The company is a subsidiary of Stoli Group, meaning it is 'indirectly owned' by Shefler, who is based in the United Kingdom. 'Jolie pursued and then consummated the purported sale in secret, purposely keeping Pitt in the dark, and knowingly violating Pitt's contractual rights,' the star's attorneys continue.'By doing so, Jolie sought to seize profits she had not earned and returns on an investment she did not make. Also 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 Fight Club star's attorneys say those fears were immediately realized.'And just as Jolie envisioned, that is exactly what Shefler has done,' they outline in their first amended complaint document.'Since claiming to acquire Jolie's interest in Miraval, Shefler has launched a hostile takeover of the wine business, destabilizing Miraval's operations and seeking access to Miraval's confidential and proprietary information for the benefit of his competing enterprise.'At the same time, Miraval's association with Shefler—who has gained notoriety through cutthroat business tactics and dubious professional associations—jeopardizes the reputation of the brand Pitt so carefully built,' the documents state.'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.'
         The filing also claims the sale violates an agreement the couple made at the outset of their partnership in the 1,000-acre Chateau Miraval estate, which they bought in 2008 and is in Correns, near Aix-en-Provence. It gave Pitt first refusal to buy her stake if she wanted to sell, the judge has been told.And this latest legal battle between the warring exes is further complicated by a dispute over the size of Jolie's stake.Miraval is owned by Quimicum, a company in which Pitt originally held a 60 per cent share through his entity Mondo Bongo while Jolie held 40 per cent through her company Nouvel.Three years before he and Jolie split in 2016, Pitt transferred ten per cent of Mondo Bongo's shares to Nouvel, making them 50/50 stakeholders in Quimicum.But according to the lawsuit, the ten per cent transfer is void as the shares were 'sold' for only 1 Euro and not a 'serious' amount as required by Luxembourg law.Pitt has also hit out at the timing of Jolie's sale of Nouvel, linking it with a judge's decision to issue a tentative ruling giving him 50/50 custody in the couple's bitter custody battle over their five minor children at the time.His attorneys say that originally, buyout negotiations for Miraval, worth $164million, had begun between the stars and were proceeding in April 2021.'The negotiations progressed to a very advanced stage, and the parties even reached an agreement on price,' they write.'In May 2021, however, the judge appointed to preside over the couple's custody proceedings issued a detailed tentative ruling—following a weeks-long trial—finding that Jolie was not credible and that the existing custody order required modification, at Pitt's request, in the best interests of Pitt and Jolie's children.'They add that 'in the wake of that ruling, and notwithstanding that the parties were on the cusp of striking a deal on a buyout of Jolie's stake, Jolie's representatives abruptly informed Pitt' a month later that talks were at an end.The reps also 'disingenuously accused Pitt of having no intent of finalizing an agreement'.'As one of Jolie's letters summed it up', write the lawyers, 'we consider ourselves free from any negotiations with you,' and 'free to pursue any other transactions that we would deem appropriate to undertake'.'The famous couple, dubbed Brangelina, bought the chateau as a home to share with their six children as well as a vineyard to run as a family business, the papers say.However, the estate was in dire straits and leaking money due to its previous owner. Pitt then formed an association with renowned winemaker Marc Perrin to reinvent it into a world-class enterprise.'The vineyard became Pitt's passion—and a profitable one, as Miraval, under Pitt's stewardship, has grown into a multimillion-dollar global business and one of the world's most highly regarded producers of rosé wine,' say the papers. Jolie, on the other hand, was a bystander, claim the lawyers.
         The Maleficent star 'meanwhile contributed nothing to Miraval's success,' they write.'Instead, she allowed Pitt to pour money and sweat equity into the business in reliance on the consent right she owed him and a right of first refusal her business entity owed his.' The first wine by the joint venture, Miraval Rosé 2012, 'was an instant success'. Its first 6,000 bottles sold out online within five hours. Expert publication Wine Spectator awarded it a coveted spot on its Top 100 of 2013 list—the first rosé to ever appear on the list, said the paperwork.Miraval's sales rocketed and merchants resorted to being on waiting lists for its latest wines.Though she benefitted from Miraval's success, Jolie had no involvement in these efforts,' say Pitt's lawyers.'As she herself stated in court documents, 'I regarded the house as my home, and I used it for meetings related to my international work.' She did not contribute to the growth of the business.'By 2019, three years after the couple split, Miraval wines were being sold in 65 countries and success has continued, say Pitt's lawyers.'Pitt—through significant financial investment and years of sweat equity—has built a highly successful family-owned business,' the legal papers state. 'Miraval has correspondingly grown massively in value since 2008 and is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars.'Meanwhile, Jolie has not returned to Miraval since filing for divorce in 2016. She did nothing to drive the growth of its business. Instead, she allowed Pitt to make these investments and devote himself to the business in reliance on the consent right she owed him…'Miraval's success and associated rise in value offered Jolie an opportunity to capitalize on Pitt's success and cash out, without contributing anything at all to the enterprise…. Pitt was prepared to buy Jolie out, either in whole or in part, on reasonable terms.Shefler, Soviet-born and with British and Israeli citizenship, was watching that success from afar.And the owner of the SPI Group, which sells alcohol in 160 countries, seized on the Brangelina divorce news in 2016 to make a 60 million euro bid for Miraval, the papers say. He also offered a 'bizarre sweetener' for Pitt of a 50 million euro private jet on 'very attractive terms'.The offer was rebuffed, but in early 2021 Shefler's associates came back and had a meeting with Pitt. However, the star confirmed he had no interest in a deal.'Jolie had thus sold Nouvel not just to a stranger but to the very stranger with whom Pitt and Miraval had refused to deal,' write the attorneys.'No one affiliated with Stoli or Tenute del Mondo ever contacted Pitt before the announcement of the purported sale. Nor did Jolie seek Pitt's consent to the transaction or even offer to sell Nouvel to Pitt on the same terms as she purportedly sold to Tenute del Mondo.'To the contrary, Jolie and Shefler hid the discussions and declined to disclose the terms of the contemplated deal to Pitt at all. Pitt still does not know what those terms are.' Pitt's attorneys have also linked Shefler in their document to Putin, whose February invasion of Ukraine has killed thousands of innocent civilians. 'Shefler also maintains personal and professional relationships with individuals in Vladimir Putin's inner circle,' they allege in court documents.
         But the vodka the tycoon publicly criticized the Putin regime following the invasion of Ukraine – and said he was exiled from his homeland.He was changing the name of his vodka from Stolichnaya to Stoli in direct response to Moscow's war, he said in a media release.'While I have been exiled from Russia since 2000 due to my opposition to Putin, I have remained proud of the Stolichnaya brand,' he said.Pitt accuses Jolie, Shefler, Oliynik, SPI Group and Tenute del Mundo in the law suit of two counts of breach of contract, breaching good faith, and tortious interference with contractual relations. He is demanding a jury trial.The once feted showbiz couple have six children – Maddox, 20, Pax, 18, Zahara, 17, Shiloh, 16 and twins Knox and Vivienne, 13.Despite Pitt's 50/50 custody victory just before Jolie decided to sell her stake in Marival, he was later stripped of having joint parental control. And in October 2021, a judge denied his petition to review that ruling.

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