“Credit card investigation shows art market open to international fraud

Criminal charges brought after London and regional UK auction houses are targeted

By Riah Pryor. Market, Issue 235, May 2012
Published online: 17 May 2012

Items are often collected in person before credit card transactions have cleared

A criminal network is believed to have targeted more than 30 auction houses across the UK, using fake credit cards to steal works of art. While initial reports claimed that the suspects only approached regional auction houses, it is now clear that London-based Bonhams and Christie’s were also affected, and that there are problems with the way the market checks financial transactions.

Scotland Yard’s Art & Antiques Unit launched an investigation in October 2010 but the case was handed to Wiltshire Police after it emerged that the force was already looking into a number of similar offences. Simohamed Rahmoun, 30, Barbara Ursula Goossens, 60, Farouk Dougui, 39 and Jabey Alan Bathurst, 23, were arrested last year and charged with conspiracy to defraud a number of auction houses this January. Rahmoun, Dougui and Bathurst were also charged with defrauding car-part suppliers. A trial is expected later this year. At the time of going to press we were unable to contact the defendants’ lawyers and it is unknown whether they deny the charges.

“[The problem is that people] were buying goods over the phone and picking them up before the transaction had cleared,” says the director of one of the defrauded auction houses, who wishes to remain anonymous. “We trusted that banks would be doing checks at their end. Aside from the usual identity checks we can’t tell whether the card that people use over the phone is theirs.”

The amount of money lost has not yet been established. Since the arrests, police have issued further warnings about accepting credit cards from telephone bidders. Many auctioneers are now asking for clearer guidance on how to make cashless transactions less risky.

Problems at Christie’s 

“As a result of this incident [Christie’s] had to take a long, hard look at itself and what was being done to regulate payments,” says a former employee of the auction house who wishes to remain anonymous. “A number of credit cards were used by the same individual, all of which failed and no one raised the alarm. There was no real policy in place to deal with suspicious transactions and a number of people in the company were unhappy with what happened. I imagine things have changed now.”

A Christie’s spokesman declined to comment, but The Art Newspaper understands that since the incident the company has taken measures to strengthen its credit-card security procedures.

The point at which police should be notified of suspicious behaviour by buyers has been increasingly discussed, most notably around the anti-money laundering legislation which passed into law in the UK in 2002. “Auction houses are now legally obliged to report any behaviour or transactions where there are reasonable grounds to suspect the person may be money laundering [the concealing of money gained through criminal activity] and failure to report could result in a conviction for negligence,” says Janet Ulph, a professor of commercial law at the University of Leicester, who has written a book on the subject. She adds that this equally applies to art dealers.

As money laundering legislation only applies to cash transactions, the point at which companies should report suspicious use of credit cards is a grey area. “The reality is, these offences happen all the time,” says detective superintendent David Clarke, who is head of the City of London Police Fraud Squad. “Regardless of whether you suspect someone is money laundering or conspiring to defraud, there needs to be a policy in place to deal with it.”

London auction houses have set up quarterly security meetings, in the style of those held by London’s museum community. But the trade has proved hesitant to share information in the same way because of concerns about data protection legislation, and business rivalry.

A global market 

The way in which auction houses conduct business today has been revolutionised; online, anonymous and increasingly international bidding is now commonplace. This spate of frauds, however, suggests that the art market’s financial procedures have yet to catch up.

Banks also seem unwilling to help. “They couldn’t care less,” says Tora Farwell of Richard Edmonds auction house in Wiltshire. “I’ve asked what we should be doing but they’re uninterested. I’ve started my own system of recording details and have lost business because of this precaution.” Other auction houses told us that they have lost customers because they stopped accepting foreign-issued cards to try to reduce the risk of fraud.

“What’s the point of saying we are now reaching a global audience if we get hit with stolen items or accepting money from criminals,” says Jeremy Lamond, the director of fine art at Halls Auctioneers in Shrewsbury. “We need to get some international rules if we’re going to participate in this market. Otherwise we’ll be back to selling art in a church hall and looking people in the eye before we let go of goods.” ”

Preluat dupa > http://www.theartnewspaper.com

Scurta descriere a diamantului, partea a II-a

Exemple de taieturi ale diamantelor FANCY sau COLORLESS

Cercei antici cu diamante taietura Trillion

Diamant central cu taietura smarald, 2 diamante marchiza si anturaje cu taietura briliant

Diamant central marchiza, anturaj bagheta si taietura briliant pe anou

Diamante centrale rosu grena si anturaj diamante cu taietura briliant

Inel cu diamant taietura smarald si anturaj diamante taietura briliant

Inel de logodna si verigheta cu diamante taietura briliant

Inel diamante cu taietura de briliant

Inel safire si diamante cu taietura de briliant

Inel safir central cu anturaj diamante bagheta

Taietura Princess

Alexa Radulescu

Scurta descriere a diamantului ….

Diamantul este un mineral considerat piatra pretioasa. Din punct de vedere chimic, acesta este una dintre formele de existenta ale carbonului. In anul 1797 Chimistul englez Smithson Tennant descopera ca diamantul este format din carbon. Acesta realizeaza un experiment prin ardere a diamantului intr-un mediu de oxigen, rezultatul experimentului fiind gasirea unor resturi de dioxid de carbon.

Diamantul se cristalizeaza in mod natural intr-un sistem  cubic si ajunge la o duritate maxima de 10 pe scara Mohs. Duritatea diamantului variaza insa de gradul de puritate al pietrei.

Datorita puritatii sale, diamantele pot fi slefuite doar cu pulbere de diamant si din fulerita.

Masa unui diamant se exprima in carate (ct.), un carat de diamant fiind echivalent cu o greutate de 0,200 de grame.

Diamantele se formeaza la adancimi foarte mari, acolo unde temperatura si presiunea sunt foarte ridicate. Microdiamantele se pot forma si la caderea meteoritilor pa pamant, datorita faptului ca se creeaza conditiile necesare pentru formarea acestui mineral, anume temperatura si presiune mare la contactul cu dioxidul de carbon.

Diamantele dispun de calitatea de a avea culoare. In functie de aceasta, diamantele sunt impartite in COLORLESS si FANCY. Cel mai des utilizate pentru realizarea bijuteriilor sunt cele COLORLESS. Nuantele de culoare sunt considerate de la D, fiind cea mai buna si apreciata culoare a diamantului, si terminand cu Z, ceea ce inseamna cel mai galben sau maroniu diamant. Orice culoare sub Z a diamantului face ca acesta sa fie considerat diamant FANCY. Diamantele COLORLESS sunt mai apreciate deoarece acestea se gasesc mai rar decat cele FANCY. Insa nici acestea din urma nu trebuie subapreciate, iar aici reamintim de renumitele diamante albastre, verzi, galben-portocaliu, rosii sau roz. Aceste minerale tind sa isi imprumute culoarea din mediul in care  se formeaza.  Cele mai intalnite diamante FANCY sunt maronii si galbene, insa cele mai rare sunt diamantele ROSII si VIOLET. Astfel ca diamantele in culori sunt in general considerate foarte rare si pretioase, desi nu fac parte din scala standardizata a culorilor diamantului.

Cele mai faimoase diamante ale lumii

Claritatea unui diamant este si aceasta variabila, incepand de la FL (fara defect sau flawless). SI si I (1,2,3) sunt diamantele considerate ca avand cel mai mic grad de claritate. Dincolo de aceasta clasificare, se mai poate vorbi si despre diamantele EYE CLEAN (curate la vedere), acestea neavand incluziuni vizibile cu ochiul liber.

Diamantele sunt considerate mai valaoroase sau mai putin valoroase in functie de taietura si forma lor. Cea mai cunoscuta forma de taietura a diamantului este BRILIANTUL CLASIC, acesta dispunand de 57 de fatete. Taietura diamantului variaza pe o scara de la IDEAL la MEDIU. Forma diamantului este rezultatul final al prelucrarii pietrei, taierea si slefuirea. Exista cateva forme cunoscute de taiere a diamantelor : briliant, smarald, bagheta, marchiza, trillion si princess.

Aceasta scurta incursiune in ceea ce este un diamant, modul in care se prelucreaza si modalitatea de apreciere si de valorizare are scopul de a ne invata ceea ce inseamna cateva dintre bijuteriile pe care le purtam sau pe care ne dorim sa le purtam.

Oricat am cunoaste despre aceste minerale, pietre sau oricum vrem sa le numim, cert este ca detin calitati estetice remarcabile, jocuri de lumini sau FOCURI fascinante. Lumea unui diamant pare infinita, fie ca privim prin conul unui briliant de 0,1 ct sau de  10 ct. Este o lume invizibila fascinanta, care reuseste sa atraga privirea pana si a celor mai putin cunoscatori si interesati de accesorii, bijuterii si altele asemenea.

Masurarea diamantelor

Alexa Radulescu

Arta contemporana in dulcele stil clasic … partea a II-a

Octavian Damian este un artist plastic, membru al Asociatiei Artistilor Plastici din Romania. A avut trei expozitii personale, intre care ultima a fost organizata in Suedia. A avut de asemenea un numar considerabil de expozitii de grup si colective, unde a reusit sa incante ochiul iubitorilor de arta de fiecare data.

In galeria noastra expune tablouri inca de la inceputurile noastre, din anul 1997. De-a lungul colaborarii nostre, pictorul Damian Octavian s-a bucurat de precierea privitorilor si clientilor nostri, astfel ca lucrarile sale fac parte in prezent din colectii particulare sin Anglia, Austria, Canada, Chile, Danemarca, Elvetia, Germania, Franta, Israel, Japonia, Spania, Suedia, SUA si Ungaria.

Lucrarile sale sunt realizate in ulei pe panza caserata pe carton. Ceea ce ii este specific D-lui Damian Octavian este optimismul cu care obordeaza fiecare tematica in pictura sa, culorile vii, luminozitatea tablourilor sale, reusind sa creeze o atmosfera de veselie, relaxare, o atmosfera de basm.

Marin Gheorghe s-a nascut in anul 1958 in Constanta. Aici a absolvit Scoala de Arte, urmand ca ulterior sa aiba numeroase expozitii de pictura in Constanta si Bucuresti. A sustinut expozitii personale in incinta Senatului Romaniei, expozitii la Colegiul Medicilor si nu in ultimul rand o expozitie personala la Muzeul Controceni.

Tehnica utilizata de Marin Gheorghe este ulei pe panza. Acesta reuseste sa abordeze o tematica variata in lucrarile sale, de la peisaje, naturi statice, flori si nuduri. Abordeaza un stil de pictura uneori evaziv, cu forme mai putin definite si culori tari, luminoase, vibrante, insa cand abordeaza nuduri sau naturi statice, se evidentiaza stilul clasic olandez de pictura, cu o atentie deosebita liniilor, culorilor si mai ales jocului de umbre si lumini pe panzele sale. Foloseste o gama foarte variata de culori in pictura sa, de la culori pale, deschise, pana la culori tari, nuante de verde, mov, gri, albastru, indigo. Astfel panzele sale devin vibrante, vii in ochii privitorului.

Alexa Radulescu

Arta contemporana in dulcele stil clasic …. partea I

Ca un maraton in pictura contemporana pe care galeria noastra o adaposteste, ne-am propus sa va introducem in lumea catorva astisti pe care noi ii apreciem ca stil, ca talent, ca valoare si exponentiali pentru pictura zilelor noastre.

Despre Nicolae Ambrozie s-au scris multe si s-au spus si mai multe lucruri. Varietatea picturilor sale este fascinanta, schimband de fiecare data tonul in functie de ceea ce isi propune sa realizeze. Fie ca vorbim de Flori, Naturi Statice, Peisaje Citadine, Casute de Tara, Marine sau Nuduri, stilul sau ramane inconfundabil, un joc de cald si rece in culorile sale, in joc de sentimente, luminozitate, mister si expresie. Nicolae Ambrozie a avut un numar impresionant de expozitii personale si 3 premii de excelenta pentru pictura sa. Posibilitatea sa, ca artist, de utilizare a culorii, de asezare a umbrelor si luminilor sunt dovada a talentului sau incontestabil.

Marius Nistor s-a nascut la Alexandria, unde a urmat Scoala de Arte sub indrumarea profesorului C. Bichescu. A avut numeroase expozitii in Alexandria si Bucuresti si s-a bucurat de o mare apreciere in galeria noastra si nu numai. Opere de arta realizate de Marius Nistor se afla in colectii particulare nu doar din Romania, ci si din Statele Unite, Germania, Spania, Rusia, Ungaria si Iugoslavia. Tehnicile utilizate de acesta sunt grafica in tus si creion, acuarela, insa cel mai des intalnim uleiul pe panza, prin care isi demonstreaza calitatile si priceperea. Temele abordate de acest artist sunt diverse, flori, peisaje, marine, samd.


Alexa Radulescu

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