The Courthouse News Service has the details of a federal lawsuit filed in New York’s Southern District against Atam Sahamnian who convinced James Whitely to go into business with him a year ago. The deal has since gone sour with Whitely claiming he’s had no proof of any of the deals and wants to know where more than $1m of his money is. Whitely had advanced $1.7m to Sahamnian and received disbursements of $375k.
Courthouse News Service followed up on the complaint and got this surprising rebuttal:
Sahmanian counted Warhols, Basquiats and Picassos in his private collection, and he claimed to have “bought and sold over 1,000 Picassos over the years as either a dealer or for his personal collection,” according to the complaint.
In addition to claiming that he had special clearance from Britain’s royal family to personally advise the prince of Wales on art, Sahmanian allegedly claimed to have sold more than $300 million worth of pieces to a group of “Texans” who were still his clients.
Reached over the phone for comment on Whitely’s fraud claims, Sahmanian declined to comment on all but one detail.
He called the allegation about his experience with Picassos “ridiculous,” saying a thousand-plus sales would have made him an unrealistically wealthy dealer.
Banksy Sales Inspire $1M Fraud Claim (Courthouse News Service)