Brad Pitt hits out at Angelina Jolie over vineyard stake sale

Source: Bang Showbiz

Brad Pitt is accusing Angelina Jolie of trying to damage him by secretly selling her stake in his French vineyard to a “Russian oligarch” with “poisonous intentions”.

Brad Pitt.

The Once Upon A Time In Hollywood actor, 58, also alleges in a new court filing there is a plan to seize total control of his multimillion-dollar wine passion project.

Jolie, 47, sold half of the booming Château Miraval winery to a company run by Yuri Shefler, 54, who owns the firm that produces flagship Russian vodka Stolichnaya, rebranded Stoli.

Pitt's lawsuit over the sale started in February.

Legal documents obtained by and filed on June 3 cite Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and claim “the Stoli brand is now a massive international liability”.

They add that after Shefler’s “desperate attempts to disassociate himself from the Putin regime” Stolichnaya “has been the object of boycotts throughout the world”.

Papers filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court said: “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.”

The former couple bought the winery in Correns, southeastern France, in 2008 and when they divorced the estate was said to be worth US$164 million (NZ$253.7 million).

The South of France château, where the couple married in 2014, became Pitt's “passion” and under his guidance has become one of the world's most highly-regarded producers of rosé wine, the court papers say.

Yet in October 2021, the documents say Jolie “purported to sell her interest to Tenute del Mondo, a hostile third-party competitor bent on taking control of Miraval”.

They also allege the Maleficent actress' motivation for the deal was to “inflict harm on Pitt”.

The papers accuse Shefler of jeopardising the “reputation of the brand Pitt so carefully built”.

They go on: “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 case is further complicated by a labyrinthine dispute over the size of Jolie's stake.

Pitt and Jolie bought the château as a home to share with their six children as well as a vineyard to run as a family business, the papers say.

The first wine by the joint venture, Miraval Rosé 2012, sold out its first 6000 bottles online within five hours of release.

The pair – whose six children are Maddox Chivan Jolie-Pitt, 20, Pax Thien Jolie-Pitt, 18, Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt, 17, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, 16 and twins Knox Léon and Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, 13 – were embroiled in a hugely bitter custody battle over their brood.

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 the ruling.

Shefler publicly criticised Putin regime following the invasion of Ukraine and said he was exiled from his homeland.

The tycoon announced he was changing the name of his Stolichnaya vodka to Stoli due to Putin’s war on Ukraine, which has left at least 14,000 people dead.

Pitt is demanding a jury trial and is accusing 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.