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Brother of Spanish dealer in alleged forgery ring could be extradited to US

Court ruling must get government approval before Jesus Angel Bergantinos Diaz can be sent to New York for trial

by Javier Pes  |  16 February 2016
Brother of Spanish dealer in alleged forgery ring could be extradited to US
The exterior of the Knoedler & Company art gallery. Photo: Paul Goguen/Bloomberg via Getty Images
One of two Spanish brothers wanted by US authorities in connection with the Knoedler fakes scandal can be extradited to the US, a Madrid court ruled today, 16 February, AP reports.

Jesus Angel and Jose Carlos Bergantinos Diaz were arrested in Seville in 2014 for their connection to an alleged forgery ring involving the Long Island dealer Glafira Rosales, who pleaded guilty in 2013 to selling fake works with false provenances purported to be by Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko and other artists. The extradition ruling applies only to Jesus Angel, not his brother, who was Rosales’s former boyfriend and business associate. Jesus Angel, who had around $33m made through the sale of the works transferred through Spanish bank accounts in his name, could appeal the extradition and it would need to be approved by the Spanish government before he is sent to New York to face trial.

Jose Carlos, who is accused of playing a leading role in the conspiracy to make and sell the 60 fakes and launder the proceeds, has asked to be tried in Spain. He is also thought to be the first person to meet the Queens-based Chinese artist Pen-Shen Qian and commission him to make copies of Abstract Expressionist paintings. Jose Carlos is also accused of applying fake signatures and giving the works a false patina of age so that Rosales could sell them as originals through Knoedler in a multi-million dollar fraud that led to the closure of the gallery.

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