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Luis Miguel Goitizolo

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The Billionaire, the Secretary, and the Stolen Monet
10/31/2013 2:24:39 AM
A 43 Million stolen Monet

The Billionaire, the Secretary, and the Stolen Monet

The Exchange

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A photo shows an 1899 painting by Impressionist master Claude Monet entitled Japanese Footbridge Over the Water-Lily Pond. (AP)

British hedge fund manager Alan Howard made waves in the art world in 2010 when he reportedly spend $43 million on an original oil painting from Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies” series from a London art dealer.

Turns out, the painting was stolen.

Not only that, but this particular Monet – full name: “Japanese Footbridge Over the Water-Lily Pond at Giverny” – comes with a uniquely scandalous backstory. Imelda Marcos, the one-time First Lady of the Philippines, whose profligate spending on the country’s dime ended when her husband, Ferdinand Marcos, was forced into exile in 1986, once owned it. And her former secretary has been accused of stealing it from her.

Now the 1899 painting is a key piece of evidence in the criminal trial of that ex-aide, Vilma Bautisa, which began in New York City in mid-October. The 74-year-old Bautista has been charged with conspiracy after she and two nephews tried to sell the painting in 2010, and several others from Marcos’ New York City townhouse, after the former first lady’s properties were seized by the new Philippine government in the 1980s. Bautista faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of the charges.

“It’s a simple story of greed, opportunism and fraud,” Garrett Lynch, an assistant district attorney, said to the jury, according to The New York Times.

Speaking of greed, Marcos herself – whose spending habits while First Lady are the stuff of legend: a closet with 3,000 pairs of designer shoes, $3-millon-in-a-day shopping sprees in New York, artwork by a range of old masters, and even several Manhattan skyscrapers including the Woolworth Building – remains active in Philippine politics and is now serving as a member of the country’s House of Representatives.

Howard, whose $2 billion fortune places him among the richest individuals in Britain, isn’t the first billionaire to be implicated in possessing stolen artwork. In 2011, billionaire New York art dealer, Helly Nahman, was sued for refusing to return a $25 million painting by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani that was allegedly stolen from his father by Nazi forces during World War II. And, in September of 2013, Francois-Henri Pinault, the owner of Christie’s auction house, returned two 18th-century bronze sculptures to China that had been looted from that country’s Old Summer Palace by British forces in the 1860s.


The billionaire, secretary, and stolen Monet


A British hedge fund manager purchases an original painting by Claude Monet, and gets a big surprise.
How Imelda Marcos is involved


"Choose a job you love and you will not have to work a day in your life" (Confucius)

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Roger Macdivitt .

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RE: The Billionaire, the Secretary, and the Stolen Monet
10/31/2013 7:50:23 PM

Wow.

Fancy buying something that expensive without checking validity.

Roger

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