A respected British art dealer sold seven “antique” artifacts to a Qatari sheikh in 2014 and 2015.
The artifacts turned out to be fake. Evidence shows the use of modern tools and materials.
Art dealer John Eskenazi has been ordered to reimburse the Qatari buyer $4.99 million and damages.
A respected British art dealer has been ordered to pay $4.99 million, plus damages, to a Qatari sheikh after the latter sold him seven “antique” sculptures that later turned out to be forgeries.
In 2014 and 2015, Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Thani bought seven artifacts from London-based art dealer John Eskenazi for $4.99 million through his Qatar Investment and Projects Holding Company, also known as QIQCO, Forbes reported.
Asian art expert Eskenazi, who previously original ancient artwork for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Louvre Museum in Paris, priced and sold the artifacts with the understanding that they were up to 2,000 years old, according to mail on sunday.
According to court documentseach invoice contained a note stating: “I declare that, to the best of my knowledge, the item listed on this invoice is antique and therefore over one hundred years old.”
but a Supreme Court ruling last month discovered that artifacts sold by John Eskenazi Limited (JEL) to the super-rich Qatari sheikh between 2014 and 2015 were forgeries.
“Regarding all objects, Claimants have proven their inauthenticity, and the lack of reasonable grounds for the unqualified opinion on their ancient origin, given by JEL,” the Supreme Court judge concluded.
The judge ordered Eskenazi to reimburse what the sheikh had paid for the fake artworks, plus damages, on November 29.
However, the judge dismissed the sheikh’s claim that Eskenazi had committed fraud.
A statue of the Hindu deity Hari Hara, said to be more than 1,000 years old and sold for $2.2 million, has shown clear evidence that it was not ancient, archaeological scientist Anna Bennett said in a written report. handed over to court.
Bennett said a modern high-speed polishing machine was apparently used on the statue and had been “chemically treated with hydrochloric acid in an attempt to artificially age the surface and remove modern tool marks.”
The “Krodha” head, a piece said to date to the fifth or sixth century, had “very substantial evidence of modern materials,” Bennett added.
There were fragments of plastic sheeting on the object and modern fibers sticking out of the surface, Bennett said, according to the ruling.
Insider reached out to Eskenazi and QIPCO for comment but did not immediately hear back.
In a statement provided to the Mail on Sunday, lawyers for the Sheikh and QIPCO said: “While it is a matter of regret for Qipco to feel that it was necessary to take this action against John Eskenazi Limited, they felt it was important to continue with this case. as a matter of principle.”
A spokesperson for Eskenazi told the newspaper: “John Eskenazi and his family have suffered years of anguish and anxiety as a result of this litigation.
“Therefore, he is extremely pleased that the court has dismissed the sheikh’s fraud case in its entirety and has accepted that these items were sold in good faith.”
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