28 Jan

zabPhilanthropyI’ve mentioned the intellectually and morally impaired art “philanthropist” Anita Zabludowicz here on this blog many times, she of the simpleton masterpiece that is Anita’s Art Diary (Example entry, during a trip to India: “All the ladies were out in force in the streets buying up every Pashmina in sight.” This is actually one of the less banal, fatuous and irrelevant observations.) I’m tempted to say she’s like a character from Absolutely Fabulous, except she would probably regard that show as a gritty documentary. She’s almost impossible to satirise since she does such a good job of unknowingly satirising herself. I’ve also alluded to the way that the ill-gotten wealth of oligarchs, warlords and criminals is regularly laundered– either in a manner of speaking or in the truly criminal and actionable sense of the word– through the upper echelons of the art world. Somehow I missed it when it was all going on in November of 2013 but looky here, it’s the great tastes of Zabludowicz philanthropy and alleged money laundering (overtly) together for the first time in one convenient package.

You can read some of the convoluted saga here:

To summarise, a court case was brought against a man called Scot Young who is somehow still rich despite claiming to be penniless, this poverty conveniently coinciding with his divorce and presumably the potential for his ex wife to get a share of his immense wealth. Assets including a multimillion pound property portfolio have simply disappeared from the books. An anti-money laundering specialist explained the deliberately bewildering maze of restructuring and offshore accounts that made it happen. The supposed repossession of Young’s £6 million Miami beach house by HBOS saw the proceeds allegedly go not to the Bank of Scotland but to an American law firm, who paid it onwards to the Poju Zabludowicz Trust where it vanished into the either, with Mr Young mysteriously receiving £750,000 from them at the end of the process for some reason.

Mr Zabludowicz is a Finnish-born industrialist and one of the richest men in Britain, with an estimated fortune of £1.5 billion.  The court also heard he was Mr Young’s business partner in Dione, a chip-and-pin technology venture.

Mr Files then read out an email from a lawyer at Mr Young’s business law firm Fox Williams: “Scot Young says that he no longer has a requirement for offshore tax planning as he would use vehicles already set up by Poju Zabludowicz.” Mr Files told the court: “They have both profited very nicely.”

Mr Justice Moor asked Mr Files if he had seen evidence that business law firm Fox Williams was “holding assets for (Mr Young) in offshore entities”.

Mr Files replied: “Correct. And then in the year that he is supposed to have lost everything they are conducting tax-planning for him.”

I completely fail to see how anybody can in good conscience have anything to do with the likes of the Zabludowicz Collection. Even leaving aside that Anita appears to have the intelligence of a cockroach, absolutely everything she and her husband are involved in or touch seems to run a very short gamut from mostly abhorrent to actively immoral and back again. They also recruit unpaid labour, despite being billionaires. If you’re boycotting offshore tax avoiders and deceitful offshore wealth hoarders like Vodafone, Starbucks and their ilk, or even if you just disapprove of them, that should go double for the Zabs.


2 Responses to “ANITA’S ART LAUNDRY”

  1. Alistair 31/01/2014 at 11:07 PM #

    Lots of hits from Finland this week… enjoying the coverage, Poju and Anita?

    Although actually I’m hoping it’s the Finnish equivalent of the Serious Fraud Squad in the process of a major investigation.

  2. Alistair 11/02/2014 at 6:57 PM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.

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