(Rory Mulholland’s article appeared in the Telegraph, 5/12.)
French prosecutors are investigating a top Paris art dealer after Pablo Picasso's stepdaughter filed charges against him for allegedly stealing artworks that he was meant to be transporting and storing on her behalf.
News of the arrest came hours after a Picasso masterpiece, Les femmes d’Alger,sold for a world record auction price of $179 million (£116 million) in New York.
The suspect, Olivier Thomas, is a business partner of a Swiss art dealer who was recently charged with defrauding the Russian oligarch Dimitry Rybolovlev, the owner of Monaco football club, in one of the biggest cases of alleged fraud to hit the global art market.
Catherine Hutin-Blay, the only daughter of Picasso's second wife Jacqueline, filed the legal complaint against Mr Thomas in March this year, the Paris prosecutor's office told The Telegraph.
She believes that some of the works the art dealer was hired to transport have gone missing. Prosecutors would not say which works were involved nor give their estimated value.