PARIS (France): A French court will on Thursday rule in the example of Franco-American art dynasty scion Guy Wildenstein, who is accused of keeping paintings and properties worth hundreds of millions of euros in the taxman.
Prosecutors have called for the 71-year-old to remain sentenced or two years imprisonment and fined a whopping 250 million euros (US$264 million) over whatever they call “the longest and many sophisticated” tax fraud scheme in modern-day France.
The silver-haired Wildenstein was amongst eight defendants tried over allegations in the centre on the high-society inheritance spat dubbed “Dallas-on-Seine”.
Prosecutors accuse a family that began death art in late-19th century Paris of employing a web-based of opaque trusts and tax havens to prevent yourself from paying tax on the bulk of a multi-billion-euro estate.
French tax authorities believe the Wildensteins owe them some 550 million euros.
Guy Wildenstein’s co-defendants include his nephew Alec Junior and his estranged Russian sister-in-law, Liouba Stoupakova, together with a notary, two lawyers and a couple of offshore trusts.
The case will not have seen the lighting of day had various Wildenstein widows and ex-wives, feeling shortchanged with the clan, not lifted the lid on its business dealings.
French tax authorities imagine that the Wildensteins grossly undervalued their estate to minimise inheritance taxes.
The authorities allege that about the death of these father Daniel in France in 2001 Guy with his fantastic brother Alec began hastily transferring assets abroad.
The brothers’ stepmother Sylvia Roth later claimed she\’d been duped into relinquishing her share on the inheritance and successfully sued.
During the newest trial, held over three weeks ending mid-October, a legal court attemptedto have a clear picture on the Wildenstein estate.
Guy and Alec Wildenstein together declared just 40.9 million euros for inheritance tax purposes in 2002. To repay the bill, they handed over bas-reliefs sculpted for Marie-Antoinette, the wife of Louis XVI.
Alec, who taken care of the family racehorse business, is better remembered for his messy divorce from Jocelyn Perisse, a Swiss socialite addicted to facelifts who became known as the “Bride of Wildenstein”.
Their divorces provided economic crisis peek inside of the business affairs with the secretive Wildensteins.
In 2008, after Alec’s death, Guy declared an inheritance of US$61 million – an even seen as conservative because of the family’s ownership of your trove of sticks to rococo painter Fragonard and post-impressionist Bonnard.
The estate includes property, while using the jewel from the crown being the game-filled Kenyan ranch that served since the backdrop to your film “Out of Africa”.
The assets were mainly registered in tax havens inside of a series of trusts, one ofthese allegedly holds paintings worth nearly billion dollars.
During the trial Guy claimed he himself was mystified with the labyrinthine tax schemes executed by his father and older brother Alec.
He additionally argued that there was not legal obligation to report trust-held assets on his father’s death.
The case is responsible for blushes for former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who made Guy Wildenstein a commander with the Legion of Honour last season, amongst France’s highest honours. Sarkozy called Wildenstein a “friend”.
The prosecution has recommended suspended sentences for Stoupakova and Alec Junior.