Italy Seizes 500 Counterfeit Francis Bacon Works

© AFP 2022 / GLYN KIRKA painting by English artist Francis Bacon titled Head of Man is on show at Christie's auction house in London on October 9, 2020.
A painting by English artist Francis Bacon titled Head of Man is on show at Christie's auction house in London on October 9, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 10.09.2021
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ROME (Sputnik) - Italian law enforcement seized 500 presumably fake works attributed to famous UK artist Francis Bacon, along with cash and other valuables worth about $3.5 million, the Financial Guard and Carabinieri Art Squad said in a joint statement on Friday.
Five people were charged with criminal conspiracy to authenticate and circulate fake works of art, fraud and money laundering, after the investigation, launched in 2018. From March to May 2020, thirteen works of art were identified as authentically by Bacon. The probe then focused on financial flows of the works’ owner and revealed suspicious operations.
"A scrupulous reconstruction of the financial flows, associated with fraudulent sales, reveals that the group in order to impede the identification of the illegal origin of funds used a company based in the UK, from where, after covering operations redistributed them [funds] to various suspects, directly or through national and foreign companies, based in the UK, Spain and Poland," the statement read.
Comprehensive technical analysis of the confiscated works proved the fraudulent nature of 500 of them, worth $2.1 million, with other assets estimated at $1.65 million.
Francis Bacon (1909-92) is famous for his triptychs, one of which, Three Studies of Lucian Freud, sold for $84.6 million in 2013 in New York, making it one of the ten most expensive paintings ever sold at auction.
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