A London art dealer has been indicted by the FBI following claims of money laundering.
The charges allege that Matthew Green, 50, owner of Mayfair Fine Art Limited, told an undercover federal agent that he could purchase a painting from him “using the proceeds of the stock manipulation deals and later sell the painting to ‘clean the money’ ”.
Green’s company then invoiced the undercover agent £6.7m for the sale of Picasso’s “Personnages, Painted 11 April 1965”. The indictment states: ‘During the meeting, Matthew Green stated, in part, that it was important for him to make more than a 5 per cent profit on the transaction so he would not be asked why he was “in the money-laundering business”.‘ The sale, which was due to complete on March 6, did not proceed.
The US Department of Justice allege that the proposed sale was connected to a multi-million dollar securities scam. Green is one of ten defendants – individuals and corporations – named in the indictment. “The defendants engaged in an elaborate multi-year scheme to defraud the investing public of millions of dollars through deceit and manipulative stock trading, and then worked to launder the fraudulent proceeds through off-shore bank accounts and the art world, including the proposed purchase of a Picasso painting,” US Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in a statement.
The art dealer is the son of Richard Green, one of the most famous dealers in London. There is no suggestion that his father or the gallery are implicated in the case. Matthew Green has not responded to requests for comment but a spokesman from his family’s firm, Richard Green Gallery has stated: “The Richard Green Gallery has no knowledge of, or any involvement with, these allegations but fully supports the establishment of the facts in this case.”