Art law Collectors Market Spain

Chinese gallery owner arrested in Madrid

Gao Ping held by police in anti-money-laundering operation

Spanish police raid Gao Ping's art gallery in Madrid (Photo: El Pais/Carlos Rosillo)

A Madrid-based Chinese-born businessman and gallery owner is at the centre of a multi-million-euro money laundering case in Spain. Gao Ping, 45, was detained on 16 October by the Spanish police, one of 80 people arrested as part of Operation Emperor.

More than 500 police took part in a series of raids across Spain and they are reported to have seized €10m in cash as well as works of art, 200 vehicles, guns and jewels.

Gao opened Gao Magee, a 700 sq. meter gallery in Madrid in 2010 and in 2008 he opened a 4,000 sq. m private space in Beijing called the Iberia Centre for Contemporary Art, which has organised shows by leading Chinese and Spanish artists. El País newspaper reports, however, that the centre has since distanced itself from the philanthropist.

The newspaper also reports that he collaborated with one of Spain’s leading modern, the Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno (Ivam), helping it stage two exhibition and selling the museum a group of 61 photographs from China.

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