The Court of Appeal in Versailles has ordered the elusive international art dealer Guy Wildenstein, to pay a €20 million as a security deposit against tax avoidance allegations which have been levied against him. The funds must reach the court before by 15 October, according to the Le Monde newspaper. It will be treated as payment if the art dealer is found guilty.
The €20m amount is far less than the original €75 million demanded by Judge Guillaume Daïeff which would guarantee payment past taxes and penalties in case of a conviction. Wildenstein who is president of one of the oldest and most prestigious art galleries in the world is accused of not paying death duties on the estate of his father in France. Instead the estate was hidden in off shore accounts in Guernsey and the Cayman Islands.
Guy Wildenstein, the billionaire art dealer has also been formally accused of “receiving fraudulently obtained goods” after 30 paintings and sculptures, worth several hunderd million dollars, were discovered in his Paris Institute in a locked storage room. Some had been missing for decades. Many are believed to have been looted by the Nazis and are listed on the Arts Loss Register.
Photo: Guy Wildenstein © Orlinsky Katie/Sipa