Tuesday, November 10, 2020

New York is suing Sotheby’s for allegedly helping a wealthy art collector evade sales tax on $27 million worth of artworks


In 2018, Porsal Equities entered into a $10.75 million settlement with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) and admitted to improperly using resale certificates. The OAG found that the company and its owner “certified that they were purchasing artwork for resale when, in reality, they were purchasing the artwork for personal purposes — namely, for display and enjoyment at the collector’s private residence.”

Last week’s lawsuit implicates Sotheby’s in the fraud. In 2010, it claims, a sales representative advised the collector that he could use a resale certificate, helped complete it, and added a false declaration that the collector was an art dealer, when the company knew he was actually in the shipping business. By 2015, the auction house had accepted three more equally false certificates for Porsal Equities.