Prominent German socialite Angela Gulbenkian was convicted of fraud and theft regarding a Kusama sculpture, last week in a London court.
According to a report by Publico, Gulbenkian was charged with stealing around $1.4 million from art consultant Mathieu Ticolat. Ticolat, who owns Art Incorporated Limited, bought the iconic pumpkin sculptures by Yayoi Kusama from Gulbenkian in 2017. However, despite the deal being finalized and payment done in full by Ticolat, he never received the sculptures. Talking to South China Morning Post, he told how Gulbenkian kept making excuses for the delay in delivering the work. In 2018, he was contacted by Artseen, a Singapore-based art company. Artseen, who originally owned the work, had asked Gulbenkian to make the sale but never received the work.
Angela Gulbenkian is a well-known name in Germany and married into a family of prominent art collectors. This allowed her to earn the trust of both buyers and sellers in the art world. Even after Ticolat pressed charges in 2018, Gulbenkian continued evading the law and didn’t show up for the court hearings. In 2019 a warrant was issued against her in a British court and in June 2020 she was arrested and extradited to London. Her sentence will be announced on July 28.
Angela Gulbenkian is also facing additional charges in other cases. A dealer in London has pressed charges for selling him a Queen Elizabeth print by Andy Warhol for $160,000. The dealer claims that Gulbenkian didn’t own the work in the first place. Jacqui Ball, a massage therapist, has also filed fraud charges against Gulbenkian. He claims that he had given her $70,000 for investment, which she reportedly kept for herself.