Seized Basquiat Sheds Light on Art World Money Laundering

May 14th, 2013

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Hannibal, seized by U.S. authorities during the investigation of Brazilian collector, former banker and convicted embezzler Edemar Cid Ferreira, has cast light on the use of fine art as an outlet for money laundering.  The current market for blue-chip fine art is often conducted with few questions asked, opening the door for an easy disposal of illicitly got income.  “You can have a transaction where the seller is listed as ‘private collection’ and the buyer is listed as ‘private collection,’ ” says Sharon Cohen Levin, chief of the asset forfeiture unit of the United States attorney’s office. “In any other business, no one would be able to get away with this.”

Read more at The New York Times