Prosecutors in the US Virgin Islands have ordered the auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s to disclose all documents about their dealings with sex offender Jeffery Epstein, as first reported by OK! Magazine.
Denise N. George, the US Virgin Islands attorney general, filed the subpoenas on December 2 as part of a civil forfeiture suit against Epstein, who killed himself in a Manhattan jail last summer.
According to filings with the Superior Court of the Virgin Islands, Christie’s and Sotheby’s were requested to release “all documents reflecting or relating to inquiries, sales, bids, communications with or about Jeffrey E. Epstein” in addition to all documents “reflecting or relating to the tax treatment or transfers to other entities for artwork or other objects” by Epstein or his agents.
Sotheby’s and Christie’s have not yet responded to Hyperallergic’s request for comment.
According to the report, CDEC was ordered to hand over documents pertaining to a 2018 tax audit that uncovered its role in a possible tax fraud following the purchase of two watercolors by Paul Cézanne and one painting by Pablo Picasso for a combined $139 million.
The two Cezanne paintings were purchased by companies linked to Leon Black, CEO of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management and the chairman of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The buyer of the Picasso remains unknown. Epstein’s involvement CDEC’s tax maneuvers remains unclear.
In August, Black was subpoenaed in the Virgin Islands in connection to his decades-long business relationship with Epstein. On a call with investors in October, Black said he “deeply” regrets his dealings with the deceased sex offender, according to reporting by CNBC.
“This matter is now affecting Apollo, which my partners and I spent 30 years building. And it’s also causing deep pain for my family,” Black reportedly said on the call. “Knowing all that I have learned in the past two years about Epstein’s reprehensible and despicable conduct, I deeply regret having had any involvement with him. With the benefit of hindsight, working with him was a horrible mistake on my part.”
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.