French Judges Allow Wildenstein Double Jeopardy Claim to Proceed

  • French Constitutional Council to review double jeopardy claim
  • France’s Supreme Court rules Wildenstein claim has merit

Members of the wealthy Wildenstein art-dealing family may still derail a trial into allegations of fiscal fraud after judges at France’s Supreme Court ruled that their double jeopardy claim deserves further examination.

The judges said Wednesday that France’s constitutional council should decide whether the Wildensteins can be tried over facts that are also part of a French tax probe. The double jeopardy claim made by Guy Wildenstein and his nephew, Alec Junior Wildenstein, forced Paris’ criminal court to postpone its trial in January.

The Wildenstein family was in court over allegations that Guy and his brother Alec, the father of Alec Junior, underestimated their inheritance tax return when their father died. Hiding assets worth hundreds of millions of euros in offshore trusts, several members of the Wildenstein family are facing a demand from French tax authorities totaling more than 550 million euros ($623 million), according to court documents.

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