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Swiss Customs Take Away Artworks from a Luxury Hotel

News The five-star Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland, has lost its collection artworks because of a tax scandal involving Swiss billionaire Urs Schwarzenbach. The collection was seized by the customs authorities during a raid on the hotel. This step is a part of the legal investigation of an unpaid tax.

Swiss financier Urs Schwarzenbach is accused of importing a collection of artworks without declaring them. It is reported that nearly 30 paintings with the total value of US$49.4 million were taken away from the hotel. The collection includes a painting by Fernando Botero, several works by jean Dubuffet, a sculpture by Joan Miro, and works by Niki de Saint Phalle. The works were not declared to customs, and, consequently, that way the financier escaped the VAT payment, which was outstanding, taking into consideration the price of the collection.

The Swiss billionaire and art collector tried to appeal the arrest of his collection, but his inquiry was rejected by the Federal Court last December. According to Schwarzenbach, it was too exaggerated to enter the hotel and take away artworks because of an unpaid VAT of CHF12 million. The most beautiful pieces of art were removed from the Dolder hotel. Previously, the collection was exhibited in the lobby and restaurant of the hotel.

This is not the first time the billionaire has problems with Swiss customs. In 2012, the 68-year-old was already suspected in illegal import of art. In 2016, he was ordered to pay the duty worth CHF10 million and an extra fine of CHF4 million. In total, Schwarzenbach is suspected of illegal import of at least 123 artworks. Some of them ended up on the walls of the above-mentioned Zurich Dolder Grand Hotel.

According to the Swiss Bilanz magazine, the fortune of Schwarzenbach estimates CHF1.25 billion.


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