Issue #42  4/25/2002
Sotheby's Former Chairman Gets a Year in Jail For Role in Price Fixing

New York Judge George B. Daniels has sentenced former Sotheby's Chairman A. Alfred Taubman to one year in prison for his leadership role in the Sotheby's and Christie's price-fixing conspiracy.

Declaring, "no one is above the law," Judge George B. Daniels rejected the federal probation department's recommendation of no jail time for the 78-year-old Taubman and rejected arguments by defense lawyers that their client's lifetime of philanthropic works earned him probation.

According to press reports, Taubman sat stoically while Daniels outlined his reasons for a sentence that was still well short of the 30 to 36 months called for under federal sentencing guidelines and sought by government prosecutors in the case.

Taubman, who had already paid $186 million of his own money as part of a civil settlement that Sotheby's reached in a class-action lawsuit, was also ordered by Judge Daniels to pay $7.5 million in fines.

Taubman took the lead role in "a deceitful, secretive criminal scheme whose object and purpose was illegal profit," Daniels said. "This was not a crime motivated by desperation or need but by arrogance and greed."

Taubman was convicted last December by a Southern District of New York jury, which heard how he conspired with his counterpart at Christie's, Sir Anthony Tennant, to fix sellers' commissions over a six-year period.