Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"How does an attorney expect to get away with this kind of thing?" (UPDATED)

Derek Fincham points to a story in the Boston Globe about the arrest of attorney Robert Mardirosian on charges of attempting to possess, conceal, store, and sell stolen art. The works were left with Mardirosian by his client (the thief) 30 years ago and then made their way from Massachusetts to Switzerland, London, and Monaco as he attempted to sell them. Fincham says the story "reveals a number of things about the current state of the market. First, the shroud of secrecy surrounding transactions is not productive. Second, import controls are not working. It is just not possible to adequately inspect most of what gets shipped around the world. Finally, how does an attorney expect to get away with this kind of thing?"

Here is a year-old post on Mardirosian, who at the time was quoted as saying: "I know some things don't look good here, but I believe I have a legitimate case to make. I could have sold these a dozen times, but never did. My whole intent was to find a way to get them back to the owner in return for a 10 percent commission."

UPDATE: The Cape Cod Times reports: "Yesterday the owner of the paintings, Michael Bakwin of Virginia, filed a $3.5 million civil lawsuit against Mardirosian and his wife in Barnstable Superior Court .... Bakwin is seeking compensation for the millions in legal fees and other expenses incurred in recovering the paintings."