After the death of Daniel Wildenstein, of the multigenerational family owned art dealership Wildenstein & Co., his wife Sylvia accused her stepson Guy Wildenstein of stealing her inheritance—and her lawyer, Claude Dumont-Beghi, sparked a criminal investigation into tax issues related to Guy’s offshore trusts, which were stuffed with $1 billion worth of art. Though Guy was eventually acquitted of tax fraud, in 2017 as well as 2018, Dumont-Beghi was given more than $5 million for her efforts.
In a twist, it is now Dumont-Beghi who is now entangled with the law, according to a report in the Art Newspaper. Dumont-Beghi was found guilty of aggravated tax fraud and money laundering of her own in 2019 after a failed attempt to hide the money that Sylvia had given her. News of the conviction was revealed just last week, following an appeal by Dumont-Beghi earlier in December. Though she denies evading taxes, officials claimed that Dumont-Beghi failed to pay almost $170,000 in income tax and $135,000 in wealth tax, according to the report. Back in 2019, she was given an 18-month suspended sentence and hit with hefty fines. Currently, Dumont-Beghi faces more than $800,000 in fines.
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Meanwhile, Guy Wildenstein is not entirely out of the woods. France’s highest court ordered a retrial this past January as tax authorities pursue $752 million in taxes owed by the Wildenstein family. Implicated in the trial are Guy Wildenstein, who remains the director of the art dealership Wildenstein & Co.; Liouba Stoupakova, Guy’s brother’s widow; and her son Alec Wildenstein, Jr.