July 26, 2021

Angela Gulbenkian, the great art of the scam

By Guillaume Loiret

Posted today at 5:15 p.m.

In the role of the angry victim, he would see Jean Dujardin. And why not George Clooney in that of the pugnacious detective. But, for the main character, he still hesitates. This Hollywood producer would like to adapt the Angela Gulbenkian affair to the screen, with a cast at the height of the scenario. “This man contacted me by phone to tell me about his project on this case. It could make a good film, it’s true ”, tells, a little bitter, the art dealer Mathieu Ticolat, without revealing the name of the producer.

The Frenchman, settled in Hong Kong, is not about to forget Angela Gulbenkian or the thriller in which she has trained him. The Munich jet-setter and broker has invented a life to better mount scams. But by which scene to open such a fiction? Angela Gulbenkian brilliant at the Basel fair or the Miami fair? Angela Gulbenkian leaning over the screen of her computer, polishing her profiles on social networks to bluff the most gullible?

Or by the end: on July 28, the young forty-something will appear handcuffed before the London court of Southwark, specializing in economic crimes, for an “appearance on prior admission of guilt”, a sentencing hearing. She will decline her identity, Angela Maria Ischwang, wife Gulbenkian, born February 17, 1982 in Munich.

Then she will listen to the two indictments for theft: 58,000 euros paid by a former friend and 1.2 million euros paid by Mathieu Ticolat’s consulting company, in exchange for famous pieces by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. , as the Yellow Pumpkin (2012), giant squash covered with black peas. Angela Gulbenkian never delivered them. Pleading guilty allows her to avoid a trial, but not a conviction: she risks 5 to 7 years in prison.

A poorly regulated environment

English justice is not the only one to be interested in Angela Gulbenkian. Since the opening of an investigation in London in 2018 and his arrest by Interpol in June 2020 in Lisbon, languages ​​have been loosened. Former friends, art brokers, lawyers and police accuse him of having set up fraudulent sales of iconic works, taking advantage of the lack of regulation of transactions in the art trading world.

“There are more and more brokers, everyone wants their piece of the pie… But the problem is that, for this job, no qualifications are required, except perhaps an address book and a pair of Louboutins! »Georgina Adam, journalist

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