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As money launderers buy Dalís, US plans to lift cover on art sales


Mr. Isen gave his perspective on art market transactions.

“It’s different from selling a car,” he said, “because the car has to have the registration, the title, and this and that and all.… It’s nothing.… It could have been, it could have been your grandmother’s.

“So I can say, ‘Hey, this is something that I inherited, not that I bought,’ Lisa asked.

“Right.” I found it in a thrift store, they were $ 10 a piece, ”Mr. Isen replied.

Mr Isen had not been charged with wrongdoing in Belciano’s case and denied knowing that Mr Belciano was using the art to launder money, but as a result of his conversations with Lisa, who was a an undercover agent wearing a wire, he would later be charged with money laundering and pleaded guilty in 2015. He was sentenced to 320 hours of community service and a fine of $ 15,000.

A week after their first conversation, Lisa returned to Mr. Isen’s gallery to purchase 12 lithographs by Salvador Dalí for $ 20,000. She had the money in a brown paper bag. It smelled like drugs, she told the gallery owner, because she kept it with her stash of marijuana.

He told her that she was not receiving an invoice for her purchases, according to court documents.

“No bills? Cool, “she replied.” No receipt, no invoice, that’s fine with me. That’s how I like to do business.

“We’ve never seen you before,” Mr. Isen said.


Zachary Small contributed reporting. Alain Delaqueriere contributed to the research.



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