UK. Gallery in money-laundering inquiry folds
A London art dealership at the centre of an American money-laundering investigation has gone bust.
Administrators have been called in at Mayfair Fine Art, whose former director is accused of having offered to use a £6.7 million Picasso to launder money.
Matthew Green, who owns the company and is the son of one of the world's top art dealers, has been charged this month by the US Department of Justice in connection with money laundering. Prosecutors accuse him of telling an FBI agent posing as a fraudster that he could clean his cash by selling Picasso's Personnages.
Kingston Smith, an accountancy firm, has been appointed to recover money for creditors after lenders said that the company had failed to meet debt obligations.
Mayfair Fine Art was caught up in an FBI sting of Beaufort Securities, a London stockbroker which was shut down by the Financial Conduct Authority. The US Department for Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission said that they were bringing charges against Beaufort and several staff for an alleged scam to manipulate the share prices of small listed companies.
Prosecutors say that Mr Green, 50, was introduced to the undercover agent by Peter Kyriacou, 26, manager of Beaufort, and Aristos Aristodemou, 49, to discuss laundering the proceeds of a securities fraud.
Mr Green's father owns Richard Green Fine Paintings, one of the largest dealerships in the world. He and his gallery have not been accused of any wrongdoing.