A court has ordered antiques dealer Jack Shaoul to pay gallerist Alex Komolov $1.1 million over the sale of a fake Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting.
According to Page 6, Komolov, who owns the Alskom Gallery in Manhattan, was awarded the amount he paid for the fraudulent canvas in 2010. The decision concludes a bizarre trial in which the defendant claimed in his testimony, among other things, that he bought the painting from a dead man called Joe Levy who briefly came back to life for two months, before dying again.
Additionally, Shaoul’s legal team attempted to use Komolov’s nationality to portray him as dishonest by pointing out that he’s from Russia—a baldfaced attempt to take advantage of the climate of distrust stemming from Vladimir Putin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 American presidential election.
“Attempts to smear Alex with his Russian heritage were weak at best and deplorable at worst,” Komolov’s crisis manager Wendy Feldman told Page 6.
Komolov’s attorney, Phil Chronakis, of the law firm Budd Larner, also pointed out that Shaoul already served time in prison for art fraud. He explained, “As Alex’s lawyer, my focus is on collecting this judgment, which will be $1.8 million, because of the seven years of interest that comes with the verdict.”
Meanwhile, the painting’s fate hangs in the balance, and Chronakis said it should be given to the district attorney to take it out of the marketplace and prevent future fraud from occurring in connection with the canvas.
“The painting itself and the rest of the trial evidence are in my office… where they are supposed to be,” he told Page 6. “I wold love to turn it over to the district attorney and let them proceed” he said, emphasizing that his priority is to remove the painting from “the stream of commerce.”
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