(Photo: Credit Darren Ornitz/Reuters)
The so-called Panama Papers — the leak of 11.5 million files from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca — have given us a deep look into the many ways offshore shell companies are used to conceal the ownership of art. Leaked initially to Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper, the documents have been pored over by a consortium of journalistic outlets, which released a series of articles last week, several about the art market.
The documents reveal the surprising extent of art ownership behind such veils. At this point, though, the papers have not established the degree to which these strategies are being used, as some suspect, to manipulate markets, evade taxes or launder money.
There may well be plenty of further revelations. At the moment, three cases in particular illustrate just how critical a role secrecy has come to play in the art market of today.
The full original article can be found at nytimes.com