Art law News Switzerland

Swiss billionaire investigated for not paying import tax on works of art

Urs Schwarzenbach denies he acted improperly

Urs Schwarzenbach (left)

The Swiss financier Urs Schwarzenbach is under investigation by the Swiss federal customs administration for failing to pay 8% VAT on around 45 works currently on display in his hotel, the Dolder Grand in Zurich, according to the Swiss newspaper Le Matin. Works on show at the hotel by artists such as Andy Warhol and Marc Quinn are available for purchase.

“With regards to the customs investigation, we are convinced that we have always acted appropriately,” says a spokesman for Schwarzenbach. He adds that the businessman is collaborating closely with customs officials “to dispel the suspicion that import tax has not been declared correctly”.

The newspaper also reports that the Zurich- and St Moritz-based Galerie Gmurzynska is under investigation for importing the works in question. “As a leading international gallery we always act lawfully,” says a gallery spokesman. The works on display at the Dolder Grand Hotel were all imported and listed in accordance with the appropriate customs regulations, he adds.

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