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Sotheby's Sues Chinese Bidder for $3.5 Million Nonpayment  

2012-07-24 06:12:58|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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2012 年 7 月 24 日 星期二
2012年 07月 20日 15:56
Sotheby's Sues Chinese Bidder for $3.5 Million Nonpayment
Sometimes, getting China's rich to pay up isn't easy.

Just ask Sotheby's, who on Tuesday said it was suing a man from mainland China for 27.5 million Hong Kong dollars (US$3.5 million) plus interest, an amount the auction house claims he owes for 20 works of art he won at a Hong Kong sale.

The lawsuit against Zhang Bo, whose address is in China's Henan province, was filed over the weekend in Hong Kong's High Court.

The works in question were all purchased at a sale of fine Chinese paintings in April. The most expensive of them is 'Grazing Under the Tree' by Xu Beihong, which fetched HK$7.8 million at the sale, above the high estimate of HK$6 million. Mr. Zhang also bought 'Calligraphy Couplet in Xingshu' by Zhang Daqian, one of China's most sought-after painters, for HK$980,000.

In the document filed to the court, Sotheby's said Mr. Zhang was the successful bidder for 20 lots for a total value of HK$34.1 million. But the owner of two of the works, who was not identified in the document, has decided not to pursue the case in court.

'Our lawsuits do not mean that we are experiencing more defaults than other auction houses,' said a Sotheby's spokesperson. 'It just means that we take our obligations to our consignors seriously.'

To prevent nonpayment situations, major auction houses in Hong Kong require bidders for the most expensive items to pay HK$1 million deposits in advance. Sotheby's currently has six outstanding cases in Hong Kong courts, and has filed 13 since 2006.

Sotheby's said nonpayment accounted for less than 2% of its total 2011 sales in Asia, which tallied over $1 billion.

The auction house isn't afraid of going to the courts and shaming its buyers into paying up. Earlier this year, the auction house filed a suit against Ren Chunxia, a mainland woman who bid a record-setting price for abstract Chinese painter Zao Wou-Ki. She paid $69 million for the work in October 2011. Sotheby's has reportedly settled the case against Ms. Ren.

But the most public case of nonpayment occurred in 2009, when rival auction house Christie's sold two bronze sculptures in a controversial sale to Cai Mingchao, a mainland art dealer. Mr. Cai publicly refused to pay for the items after the sale, saying his decision not to settle the bill was an act of patriotism since the sculptures were looted from Beijing's imperial Old Summer Palace during the Second Opium War in 1860. Though the Chinese government tried to stop the sale, Christie's went ahead with the auction anyway. Art insiders have since said that the transaction was canceled and the sculptures were returned to their owner.

Jason Chow
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引文来源  Sotheby's Sues Chinese Bidder for $3.5 Million Nonpayment 华尔街日报_wsj.com
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