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Saturday, April 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Bogus Art Cost Him Millions, Man Says

(CN) - A man says antique dealers conned him out of more than $27 million by selling him forgeries and stealing his genuine art. Among the boondoggles, he says, he paid $15 million for a phony Monet and a phony Renoir, to men who shared his office.

Alexander Komolov says he shared an office on East 16th Street with defendants David Segal and Mohamed Serry, who used several shell companies to cover up their fraud. Komolov also sued Artique International, Pacific Platinum, David Segal Antiques, Artique Multinational, and Segal & Segal Holding.

"Segal and Serry represented to plaintiff that they have access to genuine and authentic paintings and antiques acquired through private and estate sales and auctions," according to the complaint.

Komolov says that in fall 2009, Segal and Serry sold him what they called a Monet, titled "The House of the Artist," and a Renoir, "Girl in the Garden."

Komolov says he paid $15 million for the paintings, and in December paid more than $1.5 million for silver Russian antiques. Komolov says he used his company, High Value Trading, a co-plaintiff, to make the purchases.

When Komolov discovered that the paintings and antiques were forgeries, he says Segal and Serry refused to return the money.

Komolov adds that in March 2010, Segal and Serry stole valuable items from the office that they shared. He claims that Segal and Serry refused to return a $500,000 sapphire ring, a $450,000 emerald necklace, and $10 million worth of paintings, including a Picasso.

Another plaintiff, Alskom Realty, claims Segal and Serry defrauded it of a condominium on Columbus Circle.

In September 2007 Alskom agreed to sell the unit to Artique, but Artique never delivered the $4.1 million purchase price after Artique transferred title, according to the complaint.

Alskom seeks damages, an injunction and declaratory judgment to void the property sale. Komolov seeks damages, alleging breach of contract, breach of warranty, conversion and fraud. They are represented in New York County Court by Roman Popik.

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