Magician David Copperfield filed a lawsuit against Fireman’s Fund Insurance on August 25 alleging that the insurer improperly denied a claim he filed seeking reimbursement of the $506,343 he spent to get equipment used in performances back from Russia.
Copperfield maintained that after a show in Moscow in December 1999, papers granting him permission to transport equipment valued at more than $4 million in and out of Russia without paying taxes couldn’t be found. As a result, the equipment, packed in sealed trucks, could not legally exit the country.
The entertainer said he subsequently found out that a company he believes to be associated with the Russian mafia was holding the papers for a ransom. Copperfield said he was threatened with the destruction of his equipment if he failed to provide payment for the papers.
After hiring an ex-KGB officer to assist in the negotiations, Copperfield stated that he paid the company in exchange for the papers in January 2000. He then filed an insurance claim seeking reimbursement. Fireman’s Fund denied that claim in April 2000 indicated that “seizure or destruction of property by orders of governmental authority” was not covered under Copperfield’s policy.