Police Arrest Brothers Who Sold a Fake Goya … and Were Paid with Fake Cash
Meet the "Dumb and Dumber" of art crime.
The fake Goya and the fake money seized by Spanish Police Photo via: El País
Spanish Police have arrested two brothers from Girona, Spain, who attempted to sell a fake Francisco de Goya painting to a purported sheikh, EFE reports. But the “sheikh” was no victim: he paid the pair with photocopied money.
The con artists realized they had been tricked when they tried to deposit 1.7 million Swiss francs (€1.5 million) in a Geneva bank and were told that the banknotes were mere photocopies.
Spanish police officers found out about the scam in December 2014, when the Avignon customs warned them that they had intercepted two Spanish brothers trying to smuggle 1.7 million fake Swiss francs.
The sheikh had purportedly agreed to pay a total of €4 million for the Goya painting, entitled Portrait of don Antonio María Esquivel. The first batch of cash was to be collected in Turin, and was delivered by a middleman from the prince’s entourage. Apparently, the brothers verified the cash was legit with a machine, but the middleman managed to switch it before they left for Switzerland.
Adding Insult to Injury
The brothers had also given a €300,000 premium to the middleman who had introduced them to the sheikh. In order to do so, they had asked a friend to lend them the money, promising to give it back the following day, with an extra €80,000.
But things did not pan out as expected. The sheikh and the middleman, carrying the €300,000, have gone underground and their whereabouts are currently unknown. Meanwhile, the fake Goya painting—which was found in one of the brothers’ houses upon their arrest—is currently being held by police.
About Swiss banknotes...
10 min. Pretty cool.
Published on May 19, 2016
This film shows the production process for the new Swiss banknotes, including substrate production, printing, inspection, storage and entry into circulation. It shows the special Durasafe® substrate and provides details of the various printing processes used.