Tennis champ McEnroe helps to nab art dealer Lawrence Salander

March 27th, 2009 - 6:36 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar. 27 (ANI): Former tennis champion John McEnroe helped prosecutors to nab Art gallery owner Lawrence Salander, who was arrested on hundred counts of larceny, fraud, forgery, and perjury.

Salander, 59, is accused of stealing millions, including two million dollars from the famed tennis star.

The bankrupt gallery owner was once a respected figure in the New York art world, and is said to have swindling two-dozen investors and clients out of 88 million dollars to finance his extravagant lifestyle.

“He’d just sell paintings that he didn’t own. He’d have all kinds of excuses for why he couldn’t make immediate delivery,” the Daily News quoted Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, as saying.

Salander also double-sold shares in paintings to unwitting investors. That’s allegedly how McEnroe, an ardent collector, lost two million dollars.

Salander said he would sell abstract expressionist Arshile Gorky’s Pirate I and Pirate II, and split the profits with McEnroe, prosecutors said.

“Unbeknownst to McEnroe, Salander sold the same half interest to a banker named Morton Bender, officials said. Then he sold Pirate II for 2.5 million dollars and pocketed all the proceeds,” prosecutors said.

McEnroe found out and forced Salander to turn over Pirate I, which he then put on exhibit at Christie’s. When McEnroe tried to get it back from the auction house last year, he was rebuffed because Bender had a lien on it.

McEnroe hit Salander with a civil suit in 2007. Prosecutors then contacted him.

Salander has also been sued by Robert DeNiro, who alleged that he sold a dozen of his father’s paintings. The DeNiro paintings aren’t part of the 100-count indictment, but the probe isn’t over. (ANI)

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