The Wall Street Journal adds a few details to the Jho Low story from the government’s civil complaint. Jho Low’s first introduction to Christie’s was through Leonardo DiCaprio’s charity sale at Christie’s in May of 2013.
Apparently, Low’s interest in art ramped up very, very quickly:
Between the auction and Christie’s contemporary art sale two nights later, Mr. Low’s associates won five pieces for a total of $58.3 million, the filing said. The biggest among them was his art-world breakout: 1982’s “Dustheads,” a $48.8 million portrait of a pair of drug dealers by Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Word got out: Malaysia had a young billionaire who liked wall-power paintings. Christie’s subsequently brokered private sales of two more works by Lucio Fontana and Mark Rothko to Mr. Low and his associates. Soon, dealers were lining up to sell him pieces as well, including a firm called SNS Fine Art with ties to former auction specialists Thomas Seydoux and Stephane Connery.