It’s not clear what possessed Bloomberg to run this piece claiming the US attorneys are looking into the Bouvier-Rybolovlev transactions. The case is more than a year old. One of the works was bought from Steven Cohen, an obsessive target of the Southern District that inspired the Showtime soap opera, Billions.
Had the Feds really been hankering to get involved in this case, they could have hit the ground running in early 2015. After all, two of the works were bought in the US.
So why now? Bloomberg speculates some vague connection to the Federal pilot program to use mortgage insurers to monitor cash transactions for high value real estate in Manhattan and Miami.
Here’s the only “substance” to the Bloomberg story. The rest is window dressing in the form of an off-topic interview with an art restorer who worked on the rediscovered da Vinci (which may have been the real pretext for creating this article.)
Federal prosecutors, following the lead of European authorities, have opened an inquiry into one of the art world’s consummate insiders, Yves Bouvier — including his dealings with the rediscovered Leonardo, according to people familiar with the matter.
The move marks the first time that federal authorities have trained their sights on a scandal that has shaken Europe’s notoriously private ecosystem of art dealers, middlemen and collectors. While still in its infancy, the U.S. probe also underscores prosecutors’ general concerns about the opacity of the market in art — which, like high-end real estate, can serve as a conduit for money laundering.
The Da Vinci Markup? Europe’s Art Scandal Comes to America (Bloomberg Business)