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Rapid Response Team: 0800 559 3500
Switchboard: +44 (0)203 947 1539
Rapid Response Team: 0800 559 3500
Switchboard: +44 (0)203 947 1539

Angelika Hellweger Outlines the Attraction of Artworks to those looking to Conceal their Wealth

Author: Dr. Angelika Hellweger  15 February 2024

Angelika Hellweger explained why art is often used by those who want to keep their wealth from public view.

In an article published by The National, she said that as:

’’Art is movable and hideable as an asset it can be stored without anybody else knowing about it. High-worth individuals are turning to artworks as a means of hiding their wealth following crackdowns on concealing the beneficial owners of properties.“

Angelika added that as a person does not have to buy art in their own name – and it can be bought through a chain of people who may not know each other – it can be very difficult to identify the owner. This can be particularly attractive to those who do not want the authorities to know about their wealth because, for example, it may have been obtained through crime.

Angelika has prepared a briefing note on the National Crime Agency’s "Amber Alert" to art storage centres. The alert warns centres about their possible use by those involved in money laundering, tax evasion, terrorist financing, bribery and corruption.

She emphasised that as art is often stored for many years – and there is no register of what is in the storage rooms – there is often very little knowledge of what is being kept where.

The article in The National was prompted by a raid on a high-security warehouse near London's Heathrow airport that saw police take away art belonging to alleged Hezbollah financier Nazem Ahmad.

It can be read here.

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Dr. Angelika Hellweger

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Angelika is a specialist in international, high-level economic crime investigations and large-scale commercial disputes. She has widely-recognised expertise in representing corporates and conglomerates in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and United States.

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