Chinese crypto tycoon Jihan Wu has acquired Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier’s “Le Freeport,” the maximum security freeport in Singapore, according to Bloomberg.
The $28.4 million sale marks a steep loss for Bouvier, who spent $70 million building the state-of-the-art facility—dubbed “Asia’s Fort Knox”—in 2010 before becoming embroiled in a years-long court feud with collector Dmitry Rybolovlev in 2014. The Russian oligarch accused Bouvier of cheating him of nearly $1 billion by inflating the prices of thirty-eight art transactions—among them Rybolovlev’s $128 million acquisition in 2013 of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi. Dismissed in 2019, the case was reopened this July.
Bouvier, who owned 70 percent of the freeport, will ultimately pocket $3,544,842 from the deal, having used the rest of the money to pay off creditors and fellow shareholders. According to The Art Newspaper, a previous offer to buy the freeport for $60 million fizzled out in 2019, presumably because of the controversy surrounding Bouvier.
Wu, one of Asia’s youngest billionares at thirty-six, is a major influencer in the cryptocurrency market as a cofounder of the world’s largest Bitcoin mining operation, the Beijing-based Bitmain Technologies, whose control he relinquished last year. He is currently the chairman of Bitdeer, a cloud-mining service and the sole shareholder of Straitdeer Pte., the owner of Asia Freeport Holdings Pte., which reported a loss of around $10 million in 2018.