Josh Baer caused a ruckus a few weeks ago when he commented in his newsletter upon the business practices of Angela Gulbenkian. Now Katya Kazakina and the Bloomberg team have reported out one of the stories Baer alluded to:
Mathieu Ticolat, an art adviser based in Hong Kong, claims his firm paid Gulbenkian $1.375 million for the pumpkin, according to papers filed in the High Court in London. Gulbenkian said she represented the anonymous seller. Two money transfers, in April and May of 2017, were made to Gulbenkian’s account at HSBC in London, according to court papers.
Ticolat’s firm says the pumpkin never arrived. After months of pleading and threatening, he filed the civil suit, which included a motion to freeze Gulbenkian’s assets that the judge granted.
“I got fooled by the name,” Ticolat said by phone from Hong Kong.
The work was sold to someone else in late 2017, but Gulbenkian continued to indicate she was trying to get the work to Ticolat, according to the lawsuit. In the the London High Court this month, Gulbenkian produced an email that she said was from the owner: Martin Winterkorn. A separate WhatsApp message viewed by Bloomberg suggests she was referring to the one-time head of Volkswagen. Winterkorn’s lawyer said in an email that was never the case; the former CEO doesn’t even know Gulbenkian.