Starting Monday, fifty people, “red collar” in charge of transportation and handling of items to be sold at Drouot auctioneers and six, are considered in a large-scale flight case. The investigation began in 2009, on the basis of an anonymous tip. A “red collar”, the C106, the Union of Commissioners of the Drouot sales (UCHV), holds a painting by Gustave Courbet, Sea landscape in stormy sky , stolen in 2003 during a succession.
the nephew of the owner of the painting, art collector, had explained that the furniture of his uncle, who lived in a large apartment crammed with works, had been stored before the official inventory of the auctioneer. Placement on the commissionaire listening will reveal other diversions, the investigation will uncover, prosecutors, institutionalized practice of a the “Yape” theft slang. very lucrative practice, allowing forwarders living large
A monopoly since 1860
For one, rolling in Porsche 911 and BMW latest model convertible. for another, buying a bar with fruit flights. The raids uncovered mountains of antiquity, estimated at 250 tonnes, and some treasures, like a Chagall. The commission put aside assets not listed in the inventory of the auctioneer, before storing them at Drouot or their containers in Bagnolet. sometimes even “putting green” the time they are forgotten.
They were then auctioned by auctioneers who sometimes solicited the commission so they offer them when objects were missing in them to complete a sale. According to the prosecution, the entire corporation was accustomed to steal, sell and share the spoils. Small objects without value, large tables, appliance, furniture, jewelry … It was in 1860, year of the annexation of Savoy to France, Napoleon III had granted the Savoy and Upper Savoy émigrés in Paris the monopoly of transportation and handling at the auction house.
the “individual excesses”?
Those who owed their nickname to red neck Mao of their black jacket, on which was embroidered in gold their number, were limited to 110 and each new was co-opted by a former, which he bought the function. According to some testimonies collected during the investigation, custom required each new entrant to steal and share gains without telling anyone. Several said they had the impression of “stealing the dead.” Among the “red collar” Some kidnappings were especially popular: the “little grannies”, some of whom had made their specialty
This was the estate of a deceased person only, with distant heirs. and for which the auctioneer was not a slight inventory objects. Easy and safe. Among the flights referred to the proceedings, some stand out: the estate of the mime Marceau, a barometer of the Empire Musée Marmottan, or a Chinese plate of the Ming period, sold 325,000 euros. For Leo Forster, lawyer of nine commissioners, this trial provided until 4 April, “quite the appearance of a Drouot auction of forwarders.”
“We want to stigmatize a profession we wanted to get rid, “he said, arguing that the prosecution has” built in system “what was that” individual excesses “. The auctioneers sued, challenging the facts, are accused of turning a blind eye and agreeing to sell these objects. Counsel for one of them, Marie-Alix Canu-Bernard, Monday will raise the invalidity of the order applying to the court. And on the bench for the civil parties will be located alongside the aggrieved heirs, Hôtel Drouot, who changed provider in 2010. For his lawyer Karim Beylouni, these “large-scale thefts” have “shamed the institution. “