It's written countless scandals on the market of the item in The trafficking of antiquities to the business of fake paintings Beltracchi or Shaun Greenhalgh, passing by dark manoeuvres of tax evasion and money laundering, the discreet world of art is (far too) often shaken by the affairs that he would have preferred to keep secret.
Recently, it is a new chapter worthy of a detective film that opened in this microcosm, surely one of the most exciting of the year. Inigo Philbrick or the art of the scam carefully organized by this young hustler alleged white-collar. An art dealer milf having built a small empire through various galleries and other corporations throughout the United States, which allowed him to fund his business, and his crime of art. Accused of having swindled many collectors between 2016 and 2019 for several million dollars, the elusive vagabond disappeared last October – whose assets are estimated at 70 million dollars have been frozen – has been arrested by the FBI in Vanuatu, an island in the South Pacific.
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A highly regarded expert
Before his descent to the underworld, Inigo Philbrick, negotiator and entrepreneur ambitious son – in-Harry Philbrick, former director of the museum of contemporary art, had a reputation as a master on the art market in the world. It was, in fact, courted by the most important collectors and investors in the middle. Lover of beautiful tocantes, and private jets, the merchant, a graduate of the famous Goldsmith College of London is also known for its expertise in contemporary art. Thus he was regularly called upon by auction houses for works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Rudolf Stingel or Wade Guyton, of artists whose rating was skyrocketing, there was about a dozen years. In 2013, the young man opened a gallery in the british capital, with the financial support of Jay Jopling, the founder of the gallery White Cube (where Philbrick was an intern in 2010) in which he conducted the sales of the secondary market. Producing beautiful sales millionaires, he opened a branch office in Miami, during which period the business start strong for Inigo Philbrick.
Fraud on the property of works of art
The run of the young man begins in the fall of 2019. At this time, Philbrick disappears after one of its partners, the German society of financial services Fine Art Partners (FAP), asks for several million dollars as well as works – supposed to be their common property, but that the dealer has sold without uttering a word – of Yayoi Kusama, Christopher Wool, or even Donald Judd. Following his refusal to respond to requests for FAP and the complaint filed in a court of Florida, a flood of legal claims related, all relating to fraud and from various companies and many collectors, overwhelm Inigo Philbrick. According to the u.s. attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, " Philbrick was a crook in a series that has deceived collectors, investors and lenders. You can't sell more than 100 % of the ownership of a single work, which it would, among other scams ". Thus, collectors and art enthusiasts billionaires David and Simon Reuben, deceived by Philbrick, who sold the property to a work of Rudolf Stingel is also owned by the brothers Reuben to several other people, forging furthermore documents on the web.
Rudolf Stingel © Christie's
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A well-oiled machine of an alleged criminal who relied on funding agreements opaque and montages fraudulent financial for sales with entities offshore, and companies screens. Philbrick would have sold several times the same artwork to multiple clients and have obtained many loans because of the paintings that he did, in reality, hardly, neither in property nor in warranty. A sound system which bore fruit of many years for a number of profiteers making a mockery of the regulations in force on the market of the item The case of Philbrick, who threatens her main protagonist a prison sentence of 20 years for fraud and identity theft, could eventually serve as a warning signal for a market of-the-art fel by speculation and financialization.