Still Life With $100 Million

The question tout le monde was asking at Paris' elegant Hotel George V on Nov. 7 was this: Would Roberto Polo make a dramatic appearance? The Cuban-born financier, art collector, and international fugitive had disappeared from view in 1989, when he skipped bail in Italy. But French auctioneer Ader Tajan was to sell off the last big lot of valuables seized from Polo's apartments, including a porcelain-mounted jewel casket once owned by Marie Antoinette. Many suspected Polo might show up to bid his treasures adieu. But he was nowhere to be seen.

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