The 460 million fraud at the da Vinci

3년 전
in art

  A member of the supervisory board and daughter to the founder of the Czartoryski Family Name Foundation accuses her father, duke Adam Karol Czartoryski, of extortion 460 million polish zloty, from the Polish State Treasury. Transfer the money to tax haven, and hatred to the Polish Nation. All off this by using the famous painting of Leonardo da Vinci - "Lady with an Ermine



 A Short historical outline 

Leonardo da Vinci painted the Lady with an Ermine in 1489,by using oil paints with tempera. It present the mistress of Ludovico Sforza, Cecylia Gallerani. After the artist's death, the painting was lost for several centuries. In 1788, the Lady was found by the Polish duke - Adam Jerzy Czartoryski. And presented as a gift to the his mother Izabela.                                                                                                                                                                                                     In 1939, the painting was robbed by the Nazis. After many efforts, the Polish government was able to get it back 1946, after that the image became property of the Polish state. In 1990, after the fall of communism, the image was returned to the Czartoryski family.  


The controversial transaction

In December 2016, the decision was made, to purchase the works of art belonging to the Foundation  of the Czartoryski family, by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage. This included the Lady with an Ermine. This was a big surprise. The Foundation's collections were widely available to visitors from Poland and abroad. Some of the art were even kept as a permanent exhibition in state museums. There was also no risk of selling the collections abroad. This was prevented by the law. It defined the collections as national goods subject to state protection.    It should not be surprising then, that there was a large social opposition and nationwide criticism as decision was made. There were frequent comments that the state is buying something that is publicly owned and that it is just an attempt to extort money.

The Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński said: "We bought the Czartoryski Foundation collection for about 5 percent its value, "according to Minister Gliński, this is a huge success.

 What contains the collection

Apart from Leonardo's Lady with an Ermine, the collection includes other painting (Landscape with the Merciful Samaritan of Rembrandt van Rijn, drawings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, August Renoir and Albrecht Durer), everyday objects (William Shakespeare's chair, Napoleon Bonaparte's cap), real estate (palace in Sieniawa), as well as monuments of the ancient world (a sarcophagus with a woman's mummy, a statue of Venus). All of this and other 300 thousand exhibits was bought by the Polish State for 460 million polish zloty - 100 million

  Landscape with the Merciful Samaritan of Rembrandt van Rijn


What was left untold 

 Few people knew, however, that all costs associated with the development, preservation and sharing the Lady with an Ermine were bear by the National Museum in Krakow, and all of the revenues, were forwarded to the Czartoryski Foundation. the Lady earned the most money on foreign lending, for which she was insured on 300 million euros.                                                                                                                                                                                     In summary, we have a situation in which one subject earns and the other is bearing its maintenance costs. In this case, the costs are paid by the Polish taxpayers. 


  The fraud 

A year after the transaction was finalized, the money disappeared and the foundation itself filed for liquidation. The money was found a year later on the account of another foundation. Located in the tax paradise of the principality of Liechtenstein.

According to Tamara Czartoryska, daughter of the founder of the Foundation, transferring funds to the account in Liechtenstein was planned in advance. Details were to be established between the Minister of Culture Piotr Gliński and Tamaras father.                                                                                                                                                             

In the official statement, Tamara wrote  

"From the moment I learned about the intentions of Prince Adam Czartoryski and Maciej Radziwiłł regarding the transfer of funds from to a foreign Foundation, I repeatedly emphasized in my written correspondence with Maciej Radziwiłło that such an action is immoral and potentially violating the law mainly due to the risk of tax evasion and the risk of money laundering "

The Foundation responded to allegations recognizing the accusations as "hurting statements and insinuations." In the official communication, we read "We regret with affirmation that her current actions are harmful to the Foundation, violate the good name of the Foundation and persons sitting in its bodies, which will take appropriate legal steps to defend their good name"

Tamara Czartoryska announced that she is ready to testify in this matter. "It is time to provide the necessary explanations and allow the courts and investigating authorities to take action to return the funds to the Czartoryski Foundation." This is necessary to achieve the goals to which we are obliged as a family. "

"On April 3, 2018, Maciej Radziwiłł wrote another e-mail to me: We are in the middle of a political struggle between the government and the opposition, we have to wait it out, the media want to turn the matter into a family soap opera, and you only help them. If you attack me, I will have to defend myself, believe me, my answer will be strong and will destroy your credibility. Let us not go in this direction. "

    Tamara Czartoryska, Adam Karol Czartoryski and his second wife  Josette 



It is no secret that there is, a black market at the art market. History proves it again and again.   Some of you may be interested, at the attempt to sell the Lady to the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, immediately, after regaining her from the hands of the Nazis. In this case, however, it was prevented not by the law but, of the disagreement of people of good will. Regardless of the industry, it is horrifying when the applicable regulations allow financial embezzlement.

And what do you think, let me know in the comments

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