Heir of Wildenstein art-dealing empire on trial over massive French tax fraud
The heir of a New York art-dealing empire, Guy Wildenstein, goes to court Thursday on criminal charges over an alleged massive tax fraud, in which authorities have demanded a staggering 553 million euros ($621 million) back in taxes.
Wildenstein, a 70-year-old Franco-American, is accused of concealing much of his inherited fortune in trusts held in offshore tax havens. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
In one of the biggest tax fraud trials ever held in France, investigating judges say the renowned art dealer and his nephew Alec Wildenstein fraudulently undervalued the family's wealth, which is estimated at more than one billion euros ($1.1 billion).
Their fortune includes the famous Wildenstein & Co. art gallery in New York, thoroughbreds, a private jet and numerous valuable paintings.