The Art Loss Register doesn’t just pursue stolen art; it goes after those who traffic in stolen art like Robert Mardirosian, a Massachusetts lawyer who received six stolen paintings from a client who was subsequently shot over a poker debt. That stolen art included a Cezanne worth $29m when it was finally sold after the recovery. Art Loss Register played an important role stopping Mardirosian from selling the works and putting the unscrupulous lawyer behind bars for seven years beginning in 2008.
Now the lawyer has been hit with a $3m judgement:
Mardirosian […] has been ordered to pay over $3 million towards costs theft victim Michael Bakwin incurred, recovering the stolen works. Over $1 million has alre ady been seized and one house liquidated. […] In 1999 after over twenty years, Mardirosian attempted to sell the paintings using a Swiss lawyer and a Panamanian shell company to hide his true identity. Unable to sell the works Mardirosian then attempted to extort $15million from the Bakwin family who promptly appointed the Art Loss Register (‘ALR’) to recover the paintings on their behalf .
Mardirosian was convicted by a federal jury in 2008 but this latest decision requires him to undo several transfers of assets made to his family in defiance of a UK Court Order. Mr. Bakwin successfully argued that Mardirosian was responsible for the costs the former had incurred and had attempted to avoid the enforcement of any judgement by transferring his assets to relatives. Mardirosian’s lawyers claimed that their client had only ever hoped to claim a reward. Julian Radcliffe, the Chairman of the Art Loss Register who has led the investigation since 1999 commented, “Anyone including lawyers, who think that they can obtain rewards for the return of stolen art without providing full information on who had them and why, should be prosecuted.”