Angelina Jolie’s very close friendship with Russian oligarch Yuri Shefler – the man who has been accused of conspiring with the starlet against her ex-husband Brad Pitt – has been revealed in an email sent by the vodka baron, in which he invites the A-list actress to spend the night at his Scottish castle.
Shefler, 56, told the Maleficent alum, 48, that she should come and visit him at his lavish home at the Tulchan estate in the Speyside region of Scotland – months after she signed over her half of the vineyard she previously owned with Pitt to him for $8.5 million, a move that launched a major war between the former couple, which is still raging on.
After Jolie sold her share of their French winery, Chateau Miraval, to Shefler in October 2021, Pitt sued her for breach of contract, and has since accused Shefler’s company of ‘attempting a hostile takeover of the wine business.’
Now, an email exchange between Shefler and Jolie, which was included in a series of new court documents filed by lawyers for the Fight Club star, 59, shows just how strong their bond is – with the vodka baron accusing Pitt of trying to ‘sabotage’ their business relationship.
Angelina Jolie’s close friendship with Yuri Shefler (left) – the man who has been accused of conspiring with the starlet against her ex-husband Brad Pitt (right) – has been revealed
The vodka baron invited the actress and her kids to spend the night at his Scottish castle – months after she signed over her half of the vineyard she previously owned with Pitt to him
After Jolie sold her share of their winery, Chateau Miraval, to Shefler in 2021, Pitt sued her for breach of contract, and has accused Shefler’s company of ‘attempting a hostile takeover’
In an email sent to Jolie by Shefler in May 2022 (seen), the vodka baron accused Pitt of trying to ‘sabotage’ their deal, before inviting the actress and her children to his Scottish castle
In the message, dated May 25, 2022, the business mogul told Jolie that she and her six kids were welcome to visit him at his abode, and encouraged the star to ‘reach out’ to him if she ever needed his help.
It’s not known whether Jolie ever went on holiday to the castle.
‘With this letter, I would like to thank you for the deal we have done,’ the businessman – who purchased his Scottish estate for $30.3 million back in 2017 – wrote in the email.
‘I am happy with the deal despite the current disagreements with Mr. Pitt in regards to his attempts to sabotage and avoid signing shareholders agreement.
‘I am however hopeful that we will eventually become trustworthy partners and will be enjoying mutual business.
‘Should you at any time require any assistance from me, please do reach out at [number redacted].
‘My invitation to visit my Tulchan estate in Scotland remains open for you and your children at any time. Warmest regards.’
Jolie’s office did not return DailyMail.com’s requests for comment.
‘With this letter, I would like to thank you for the deal we have done,’ Shefler wrote to Jolie. ‘My invitation to visit my estate in Scotland remains open for you and your children at any time’
Shefler purchased the estate for $30.3 million back in 2017 – when it was believed to be the most expensive sporting lodge in Scotland
Pitt and Jolie purchased the vineyard, located in the south of France, together in 2008 for $27 million, and became 50/50 owners of the property as well as its wine making enterprise
Jolie sold her part to Tenute del Mondo – the wine division of the Stoli group, owned by Russian businessman Shefler – in October 2021 for $67 million
Pitt and Jolie, who split in 2016, purchased the vineyard, located in the South of France, together in 2008 for around $27 million, and became 50/50 owners of the property as well as its wine making enterprise.
Jolie sold her part to Tenute del Mondo – the wine division of the Stoli group, owned by Russian businessman Shefler – in October 2021 for $67 million.
Afterwards, Pitt claimed that his ex had made the move without informing him, and accused her of trying to ‘intentionally harm’ the business’ reputation and ‘undermine’ his investment while ‘unjustly enriching herself.’
Shefler added in the email: ‘I am happy with the deal despite the current disagreements with Mr. Pitt in regards to his attempts to sabotage and avoid signing shareholders agreement’
‘Brad – through significant financial investment and years of sweat equity – has built a highly successful family-owned business,’ his lawyers wrote in documents at the time.
‘Miraval has correspondingly grown massively in value since 2008 and is now worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
‘Angelina pursued and then consummated the purported sale in secret, purposely keeping Brad in the dark, and knowingly violating his contractual rights.’
In a leaked email obtained by Vanity Fair, however, Jolie allegedly told Pitt on January 21, 2021, that she had plans to sell her stake in the company because she didn’t want to be involved in ‘a business that is centered around alcohol’ or revisit the place that ‘marked the beginning of the end of their family.’
The outlet reported that Pitt planned on buying Jolie’s shares from her, but after she refused to sign an NDA that would prevent her from publicly speaking about their infamous plane argument, the negotiation fell apart.
A source told the publication that Pitt wanted the NDA in effect ‘to ensure she doesn’t damage the value of [the winery] after being paid for it.’
In his suit, however, Pitt alleged that she backed out from their deal because she was angry about the custody ruling involving their kids, and that he found out that she had sold her shares to Stoli Group through the media.
He said they had a ‘mutual and binding commitment’ to the $160 million business and agreed not to sell up without the other’s permission, but Jolie said that ‘no such agreement ever existed.’
Pitt has claimed that his ex had made the move without informing him, and accused her of trying to ‘intentionally harm’ the business’ reputation and ‘undermine’ his investment
He said they had a ‘mutual and binding commitment’ to the $160 million business and agreed not to sell up without the other’s permission, but Angelina said that ‘it didn’t exist’
He also claimed that Stoli Group has since ‘attempted a hostile takeover of the wine business.’
In response, her lawyers stated, ‘Still today, and in the seven years since that fateful plane ride, Brad personally has never publicly denied that it happened.
‘The reality is that Pitt refused to complete the Miraval sale with Angelina unless she agreed to being silenced about the abuse.’
Back in July, Jolie’s investment company Nouvel filed a $350 million lawsuit against Brad, claiming that he ‘wasted the company’s assets’ and ‘spent millions’ of dollars on ‘vanity projects’ like swimming pool renovations and building a recording studio on the property.
They accused him of ‘looting’ the wine business and using it as his ‘personal cashbox.’
‘Incensed that Angelina sold Nouvel to Stoli rather than him, Brad has acted like a petulant child, refusing to treat Nouvel as an equal partner in the business,’ court documents stated.
Weeks later, there were hopes of peace when it was revealed that Pitt and Jolie had agreed to mediation.
However, Shefler shows no signs of wanting to give up the fight, and there have been numerous savage exchanges between the Pitt-Shefler legal teams since then.
Disputes run over matters including how documents have been served on Shefler, and there have been multiple filings about jurisdiction.
Shefler has said that the transaction to sell Miraval, a French vineyard, was Europe-based and so covered by different discovery rules.
Team Pitt, meanwhile, complained that the tycoon is ‘asking the court to bless his obstructionism.’
They add that the Stoli parties have ‘concealed critical evidence highly relevant to the court’s jurisdiction over them.’
The latest filings allege that Shefler has been ‘evasive,’ with Pitt’s lawyers adding: ‘He may be a Russian oligarch but he must play by the same basic rules as any other litigant in California.’
Included in the recent documents is a message from Shefler to Pitt, dated December 11, 2021 – just a few weeks after it was announced that his Stoli group had bought Jolie’s stake.
Shefler was once hit with a absentia legal action for organizing a gang, illegal use of trademarks, and smuggling
He was married to Victoria’s Secret model Tatiana Kovylina (left), but they split in 2021, and he has since been linked to Miss World 2008 Ksenia Sukhinova (right)
In it, he said he was ‘sorry to catch you by surprise by entering your Miraval Empire.’
This was followed by the Russian urging Pitt to focus on his ‘artistic projects.. while I get on with my passion — business.’
Shefler’s side, for their part, have accuse Mondo Bongo (the company controlled by Pitt which owns half of Miraval) of ‘feigning’ a desire to resolve the dispute.
They say that a proposal of who should manage the holding company would enable ‘Brad Pitt and his acolytes to continue to gut Château Miraval, which Your Court cannot allow to happen, while it is Your Court’s duty to continue to offer maximum protection to those who are suffering most.’
Shefler was born into a Russian Jewish family in Oryol, 230 miles south of Moscow, as Yuri Alexeyevich Yurasov, later changing his name to Yuri Anatolyevich Shabalin and finally settling on Yuri Viktorovich Shefler.
He served as a conscript in the Red Army late in the Soviet era, and was a dad by the age of 20.
The vodka tsar graduated from the prestigious Plekhanov Institute in Moscow, studying economics in the rollercoaster 1990s, at the same time as running a successful retail and restaurant business.
From 1995 to 1997 he was chairman of Vnukovo Airlines, a spin-off from old Soviet mega-carrier Aeroflot.
In 1997 he switched to Soyuzplodoimport (SPI), which makes the legendary Stolichnaya vodka and 380 other brands.
In the 2000s, Shefler was accused of making death threats against Vladimir Loginov, an Agriculture Ministry official who had been trusted with the vodka trademarks.
Shefler left Russia for Latvia before Vladimir Putin’s security forces had time to detain him, and initially operated his businesses from the Baltic state where he had production facilities.
While safely out of Russia – one of the first to escape from Putin’s clampdown on business enemies – he was hit with in absentia legal action for organizing a gang, illegal use of trademarks, and smuggling.
He was also charged with threatening to kill Loginov, and pursued over his use from abroad of the Stolichnaya label and other brands.
Shefler then moved to Britain where he obtained a UK passport, while also securing Israeli citizenship.
He thrived and rose to billionaire status and became the owner of Serene, one of the longest and most expensive superyachts in the world, which was leased by Bill Gates for $5 million a week.
In 2017, he purchased the most expensive hunting estate in Scotland – Tulchan – which has been valued at $32 million and is where he invited Jolie to come and visit.
He also keeps luxury homes in in Surrey, near London, at St. Jean Cap Ferrat in the south of France, and Jurmala, the Baltic beach resort close to the Latvian capital, Riga, and a favored bolt hole for Russians.
Shefler has been married at least three times and has fathered seven kids.
His most recent marriage was to Victoria’s Secret model Tatiana Kovylina, 41. However, they reportedly split in 2021, and he has since been linked to Ksenia Sukhinova, 35, who was Miss Russia 2007, and Miss World 2008.