Saturday, 13 November 2010

British Taxpayer Refunds Dodgy Purchase Money?

This bloke walked into my shop last Tuesday with a guy I knew by sight. He had a classic Brutus "Eidmar" sports car outside, a bit beat up but a classic and sought-after model in electric blue with all the trimmings. Said he'd got it from a German collector, but had no documents for it. He wanted 18000 euros. I looked it over, saw nothing amiss (apart from the lack of documents), so it seemed like a fair price. I went to the bank drew out the money, he signed a piece of paper that he had title to sell it (good job I thought of that one!) and off he toddled. I was out the back polishing the beauty thinking of the profit I could make from it, when the phone rang. "Have you just bought a car off a Mr Dimitrios Cartheftakis"? I squinted at the piece of paper on the desk by the phone,
"I did not catch his name", I admitted, "but he signed as "D. Car.... something", so, probably, yes".
"He's just been arrested", I was informed, "may we send some officers over to have a word with you this afternoon? And, Sir, please do not touch that car, it may be evidence. We'll need to see the documentation of the purchase".

That seems to be more or less what happened when Mr McFaddan of Classical Numismatic Group bought a coin from an unnamed person who was later stopped at Heathrow as he attempted to leave the country with the money.

David Gill mentioned this in his coverage of another CNG transaction gone wrong, and quick as a flash IAPN-retained lawyer Peter Tompa admonishes him:
You might also mention UK authorities returned CNG’s purchase money for the Brutus denarius because they concluded CNG acted in good faith. Do you have evidence to the contrary here?
Which seems an odd thing to say in the context of what Gill was discussing. Why "might also mention" this? Especially as the article suggests it is not true. The money never actually left the country as it was seized by HM Customs at Heathrow. So it is not true to imply that the UK tax payer footed the bill. CNG lost the coin, what does Mr Tompa think HM Customs would do with the money?

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