London Art Dealer Accused of Theft Appears in U.S. Court

A London art dealer appeared in a New York court after he was extradited to face charges that he stole tens of millions of dollars from clients who had consigned him works to sell, including pieces by Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall.

Timothy Sammons, 61, who ran businesses in London and New York, was arraigned Friday in state court on charges of fraud and grand larceny for allegedly failing to turn over the proceeds of sales and misleading the owners about the timing of sales or neglecting to tell them their pieces were sold, prosecutors said.

Sammons also used some of the pieces, which included the paintings "Buste de Femme" by Picasso and Chagall’s "Reverie," as collateral for loans, prosecutors said. When he failed to pay, the artwork was sold at discounted prices to satisfy the debts, they said. He also allegedly used proceeds of some sales to repay other victims.

Sammons’ attorney, Glenn Hardy, said in an interview that the case was “extraordinarily complex.” He added: “After the forensic examination is done, Mr. Sammons will be vindicated."

The Daily Mail reported in June that Sammons, who once headed Sotheby’s Chinese art department, was bankrupt and had lost his North London home. His victims included a Caribbean hotelier and a New York financier, the newspaper said. Sammons, who pleaded not guilty, was sent to New York City’s Riker’s Island jail after court.

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