Maverick’ Oscar 2023 noms questioned amid Russia accusations
“Top Gun: Maverick” — nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture — has a dark secret.
The blockbuster, which celebrates the bad nature of American fighter pilots who fly dangerous missions to keep the world safe, is being targeted for being funded by a Russian oligarch named Dmitry Rybolovlev, who is close to the Kremlin and approved by Ukraine. is
in one Open letter to the academyThe Ukrainian World Congress, which represents Ukrainian diaspora around the world, expressed “serious concerns about Russia’s influence on the Hollywood film industry”.
The letter was circulated last week during the final days of voting for the Oscars.
Rybolovlev, 56, is no stranger to controversy.
He maintained his innocence Spending a year in a Russian prison in the 1990s He was later acquitted of one murder.
In 2008, during the recession, Rybolovlev paid $95 million for Donald Trump’s Palm Beach mansion, through a trust. At the time, Trump was cash-strapped and radioactive to US banks.
In 2011, Rybolovlev also paid a then-record $88 million 15 Central Park West Penthouse owned by Joan Weill.
Joan lived in the penthouse with her husband, Sanford Weill, the former Citigroup chair who was active in funneling Russian money offshore in the 1990s, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office.
In 2000, a GAO report said Citigroup allowed more than $800 million in suspected Russian funds to flow through U.S. accounts linked to shell companies registered in Delaware.
Deposits by investigators are referred to as “Money evaded from taxes or profits from criminal activitiesAccording to the Tax Justice Network, a UK-based advocacy group.
While the first “Top Gun” movie mentioned Russia as an enemy, “Top Gun: Maverick” makes no mention of Russia, even though US pilots are bombing an icy country with nuclear bombs, Diane Francis. According to , an anti-kleptocracy expert. The Atlantic Council, which reported on Rybolovlev’s “Top Gun.” The connection in that Substack Newsletter.
“It’s horrible,” Francis told the Post. “Hollywood actors go to Ukraine for photo ops, but do nothing about Russian influence in their own backyard.”
Rybolovlev – who reportedly had influence over the film – was the silent and controlling financial source behind New Republic Pictures.
In 2020, as the pandemic shook Hollywood, New Republic negotiated a more than $200 million deal with Paramount Pictures to fund a quarter of the budgets of 10 films, including “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Coming 2 America” and according to reports, the new “Mission: Impossible” sequel First published in the LA Times in January.
Rybolovlev reportedly began evacuating his assets from the West, including the New Republic, after Russia’s unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, as Western governments imposed new sanctions on Russian oligarchs. The round had started to be implemented.
In his letter, UWC President Paul Grod said Rybolovlev is one of Russia’s richest oligarchs and a close friend and business partner of Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev.
Rybolovlev, known as Russia’s potash king, was also Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko’s biggest partner in potash exports, bringing in cash flows that helped Lukashenko consolidate his authoritarian rule, Grod said. wrote
Rybolovlev’s silent but controlling role at New Republic was first revealed by New Republic’s former president and chief content officer, Bradley Fisher, who filed a content infringement lawsuit against New Republic in LA Superior Court. First reported in the LA Times in January. Some parts of the suit were redacted.
In its open letter to the Academy, the Ukrainian World Congress asked the Academy to review the eligibility of “Top Gun: Maverick” to reject films with “direct or indirect investment by Russian oligarchs or other supporters of Russia’s genocidal war on Ukraine.” has said from attending the Academy Awards, and issuing a scathing statement condemning Russia’s war against Ukraine and its “attempts to influence Hollywood and American society”.
Grod wrote: “We were moved by the moment of silence in solidarity with Ukraine at last year’s Academy Awards… In this context, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) has raised its concerns about Russia’s influence on the Hollywood film industry. raises serious concerns.”
In the letter, Grodd also wrote: “Funding for ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ by Rybolovlev was not publicly disclosed and there is good reason to believe that his involvement may have led to censorship on behalf of the Kremlin. Unlike the original film, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Makes no direct or indirect reference to Russia. This is hardly a coincidence. Hollywood must be vigilant and transparent about Russian money being used to advance pro-Kremlin censorship.
There is also Rybolovlev An art collector and owner of the Monaco soccer team.
He has been the subject of investigations in Switzerland and Monaco and has filed lawsuits against Sotheby’s and Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier alleging fraud.
Earlier this month, A US District Court judge made the decision “On a large scale In favor of Sotheby’s, which is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Rybolovlev against the auction house stemming from the oligarch’s battle with Bouvier, who allegedly “swindled” $1 billion in art deals. , according to reports.
The oligarch alleges that Sotheby’s helped Bouvier acquire less than $1 billion worth of art that he later sold to Rybolovlev.
Deals include “Salvatore Mundi” – partially attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. Bowyer acquired Salvatore Mundi in 2013 for $83 million, then sold it to Rybolovlev for $127 million.
In 2017, Rybolovlev auctioned it at Christie’s for $450 million — the buyer was reportedly Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.