Bugatti debunks false claim about car purchase by Zelenskyy's wife | Fact check

The claim: Volodymyr Zelenskyy's wife bought a nearly $5M Bugatti

A July 1 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) shows what appears to be an invoice from the car company Bugatti for a nearly $5 million purchase sent to Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

"Ukrainian President Zelensky's wife just bought a €4.4 MILLION Bugatti sports car with American taxpayer dollars," reads text within the post.

The post garnered more than 400 likes in four days. Similar versions of the claim were shared on Facebook, Instagram, Threads and X, formerly Twitter.

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Our rating: False

The car manufacturer debunked the claim and said it is filing a criminal complaint for forgery and defamation and other alleged crimes. The invoice in the post is missing numerous necessary legal and financial details.

Bugatti debunks claims about Zelenskyy purchase

Nicole Auger, a spokesperson for Bugatti, told USA TODAY the claim is false.

"Bugatti Automobiles S.A.S. is aware of reports that are suggesting a recent purchase of a Bugatti vehicle by Mrs. Olena Zelenska, the First Lady of Ukraine," Auger said in an email. "(Bugatti) respects the privacy of its customers and does not normally disclose any information about its customers. In this case, (Bugatti) makes an exception because it is a false report and does not correspond to the truth. According to an internal check, Mrs. Zelenska is not a Bugatti customer."

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The claim was also debunked on social media by Bugatti Paris and the Center for Countering Disinformation, a body of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. Both traced the claim back to a video shared by a man claiming to be a Bugatti Paris dealership employee. The dealership is operated by Autofficina Parigi and owned by the Car Lovers Group.

"A supposed businessman claiming to be the Car Lovers group and its sports label Schumacher Group has published a video on social networks indicating that the Bugatti Paris dealership allegedly sold a vehicle to the Ukrainian presidential couple, Mr. and Mrs. Zelensky," reads a translation of Bugatti's July 2 Instagram post.

"In an attempt to establish this incorrect information, the author of the video published an alleged invoice for the sale of a Bugatti Tourbillon vehicle, on behalf of Mrs. Olena Zelenska, dated June 7, 2024. The Car Lovers Group firmly denies both the existence of this transaction and, therefore, the existence of this invoice."

The group pointed out several indicators that the invoice was fraudulent, including the lack of legal statements and incorrect prices. The invoice is also missing details such as the order number, VAT identification number and the seller's address, which are required for French invoices.

The Car Lovers Group published the same statement on its website and said it was filing a criminal complaint "for forgery, use of forgeries, usurpation of identity anddefamation."

USA TODAY previously debunked false claims that Zelenskyy has $1.2 billion in overseas accounts, 15 homes, 3 planes and $11 million in monthly income; and that he purchased a $20 million mansion in Florida.

USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the post for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

PolitiFact also debunked the claim.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: No, Zelenskyy's wife didn't buy €4 million luxury car | Fact check