Friday, 26 May 2017

Spanish art dealer may be extradited to America for trial

Autumn Rhythm by Jackson Pollock. Autumn Rhythm by Jackson Pollock. © Mathew Mendoza flickr.

THE NATIONAL Court in Madrid has accepted an argument from the US for the extradition of art dealer Jesus Angel Lugo Bergantiños Diaz who is accused with his brother and others of defrauding more than $33 million (€29.5 million) from art collectors over a period of 20 years by selling forged paintings said to be by abstract artists such as Jackson Pollock which had been ‘miraculously’ discovered.

In making the decision, the court heard that the state prosecution opposed the extradition saying that the trial should be held in Spain but decided that as the alleged offences were committed in the USA and many of those who were affected were also American residents that it would be appropriate for the art dealer to appear in court there.

Under Spanish law, he has a right of appeal and then extradition has to be approved by the government, assuming that there is one in power by the time that the appeal process is rejected.

In addition to charges of forgery, he will also be charged with a number of financial offences including money laundering alongside his brother Jose who is also trying to have his case heard in Spain.

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