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34 objects confiscated at Brafa Art Fair

16:53 30/01/2020

Inspectors from the federal department of the economy have confiscated 34 works from the Brafa Art Fair currently underway at Tour & Taxis. Together with customs officers, the inspectors made the decision to seize the works, which had already been flagged up by the fair organisers.

The annual Brafa fair is a prestigious market for antiques, paintings, jewellery and all manner of fine arts. Organisers carefully examine the thousands of pieces brought by exhibitors, which include art galleries and antiques dealers.

Fair curators had doubts about the origin or authenticity of 34 of the items and alerted the federal department. The items were, therefore, never up for sale to the public.

€200,000 fine for fraud

“The economic inspectors often visit antique dealers, galleries and art fairs in order to assess if buyers are being deceived,” said economy and consumer affairs minister Nathalie Muylle. “We worked in co-operation with the Brafa Art Fair and confiscated 34 works, which we are now investigating.”

The objects in question were from 15 dealers in the old Egypt, tribal and Asian art sections. The inspectors will now decide whether to hand over the objects to the justice system, which will in turn decide if they can be returned to the owners.

Deliberate fraud in the sale of art or antiques can lead to a fine of up to €200,000 and potential jail time. “It’s in the interest of the sector to work together against fraudulent practices,” said Muylle.

Photo ©Emmanuel Crooy/Brafa

Written by Lisa Bradshaw