Actor Brad Pitt has accused his ex-wife and actress Angelina Jolie of attempting to "inflict harm" on him by selling her half-share in their French vineyard to a Russian oligarch with "poisonous associations and intentions."
The claim, which was made in recent court files as part of Pitt's lawsuit against Jolie over the sale of Chateau Miraval, is the latest legal struggle between the former Hollywood power couple, who divorced in 2016, as per a report in the Deccan Herald.
Jolie sold her portion of the vineyard in southern France to Tenute del Mondo, a subsidiary of Russia-born billionaire Yuri Shefler's beverages company, in October. This is the same place where Jolie and Pitt got married.
Pitt sued Jolie in February, alleging that the couple had pledged never to sell their interests without the approval of the other and accusing her of seeking "unearned" gains. Pitt's lawyers contend "Jolie sought to inflict harm on Pitt" with the sale and that Shefler is "a stranger with poisonous associations and intentions."
Shefler, whose Stoli Group beverages giant is based in Latvia, has long been a vocal opponent of Putin. Shefler "maintains personal and professional relationships with individuals in Vladimir Putin's inner circle," according to a filing obtained by a Los Angeles court last Friday. Shelfer made a statement in March following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, claiming that he had been "exiled from Russia since 2002 due to my opposition to Putin," and that his company had been rebranded in "solidarity with Ukraine."
However, Pitt's latest filings state that "Despite Shefler's desperate attempt to disassociate himself from the Putin regime, the Stoli brand is now a massive international liability." Adding to it, "Stoli vodka is synonymous with Russia, as the countless images of consumers pouring Stoli vodka down the drain make clear."
"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 also says.
A source said that Jolie opted to sell since she and her children "have not been able to return" to Chateau Miraval, and she had made many offers to her ex-husband before agreeing to the Shefler sale. Pitt's lawsuit against Jolie was "an extension of a false narrative," according to the source, and "the truth of the situation has still not been made public."
Pitt and Jolie met after co-starring in the 2005 film "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." They were Hollywood's most famous couple till when they got divorced. They declared in 2018 that they had reached an amicable agreement on their children, but any agreement seemed to fall apart quickly. Jolie won their custody battle last July when the private judge overseeing their divorce and custody proceedings was removed from the case.