Gulbenkian ‘art broker’ in Tires jail awaiting extradition to UK

Angela Gulbenkian – wife of the great-grand nephew of legendary philanthropic businessman Calouste Gulbenkian – is currently being held in Tires women’s prison in Lisbon following the emission of an international arrest warrant for theft and fraud.

The warrant refers to the sale of a massive €1.2 million ‘pumpkin’ sculpture which never reached its Hong-Kong based ‘purchaser’.

Say reports, the 38-year-old ‘art broker’ has been remanded in custody pending extradition back to Great Britain.

The ‘missing pumpkin’ isn’t the only issue facing German-born Gulbenkian.

According to negociosonline, a British collector is also suing her over ‘the fraudulent sale of a print of Queen Elizabeth II by Andy Warhol” for €115,000.

Explains style-magazine Dazed Digital, Gulbenkian is accused of pocketing the €115,000, while the original owner is trying to get the money for the print off the collector who ‘bought it’.

In the meantime, the print has been sold on, and, it now appears ‘no-one knows where it is’.

This is yet another extraordinary story of art world ‘intrigue’ that keeps society magazines in racy column inches.

Said a source talking to ARTnews online this week: “Many people who buy art think they are too smart to get in trouble, but this is not the case”.

Central in this story is the fact that Angela Gulbenkian ‘fled’ British justice as authorities there were trying to unravel the Ariadne’s thread of accusations, seeking refuge in Portugal where her husband’s family name offers a great deal of cachet.

She is credited with accepting in the past that the name Gulbenkian ‘opens doors’ but she said this doesn’t mean that it seals deals.

In this particular case, it clearly also doesn’t mean that it saves people from the ignominy of a jail cell.

Gulbenkian was arrested and taken into custody on Wednesday night. It’s not clear how long extradition proceedings will take, nor whether she will eventually make bail.

Dazed Digital meantime has carried a tweet posted in January this year by Art Recovery International – the organisation that specialises in the recovery of lost art. It reads: “A second criminal complaint has been filed in Germany by yet another victim of art advisor/fraudster ANGELA ISCHWANG GULBENKIAN. Civil & criminal proceedings in Germany & UK. A civil case against your mother in Germany as well. Trials in March/May 2020. Oh, we’re gonna get you…”

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com