A well respected and well known New York born international art deal was taken to a Parisian courtroom. Guy Wildenstein has been accused of concealing family fortune from property taxation in Paris. It is estimated that the Wildenstein, family, and financial advisors owe around 602 million dollars. The whole investigation was brought to French officials attention by Wildenstein’s own stepmother.
Sylvia Roth Wildenstein was the stepmother of Guy Wildenstein. Sylvia was concerned regarding her affairs after her husband’s death in 2001. Daniel Wildenstein fell into a coma and during that time his assets fell into trusts abruptly and shortly thereafter he passed away. Sylvia felt as if she wasn’t being entitled to her share of the fortune. His assets were hidden in trusts all over the world in the Cayman Islands,Switzerland, the Bahamas, Guernsey, and Nassau. As it was stated in court documents by officials. She took those documents to French authorities for them to investigate for fear that the family was hiding money from her. However the French were more concerned with what they were owed.
The Wildenstein name is one of the biggest names in the art world and one of the wealthiest. The famous name is now under investigation for fraud in France. In the U.S. the name most likely is known in the social world for the so called “Bride of Wildenstein”, Alec Wildenstein’s ex wife. She was dubbed this name for her cat-like appearance from years and years of extensive plastic surgery. She altered her face so much people have said she has a scary feline appearance. Alec, Guy Wildenstein’s brother, has since then passed away. But however is still apart of the investigation.
The courtroom was filled with just the defendants lined up along with their lawyers. Accommodating had to be made just to hold the list of defendants. It was said that the defense had twenty lawyers on their side on Monday. Guy Wildenstein although born in New York is a French citizen. The defense’s argument stated that the French authorities have no jurisdiction regarding their art.
The ruling has not been made since the court hearing. The judge has delayed court proceedings for now. The French Court of Last Appeals still has to issue their ruling.
If convicted of the crimes the seventy year old art dealer, Guy Wildenstein, is looking at around ten years in prison for these crimes. If that is the case he will be eighty before being released from prison unless he gets out early on good behavior. So much for him and his family trying to save their assets. Things like hiding out private jets, property owned around the world, racehorses and whatever else that was concealed might not have been such a good idea afterall. Seems like paying taxes should have been their concern all along, not money. The stepmother and the families greed led to this investigation in the first place. If no one was greedy then they would have got away with it.