• gerard van weyenbergh

My ex- boss sulfurous estate seized, karma?

Death on February 13, 2017, Jean-Luc, alias Yann Verstraete, a crooked art broker who make people believe he had a colossal fortune while he had accumulated abyssal debts to the point of owning several million euros to the French tax authorities. Shortly before passing away, he made a young man his heir during his last trip to Mauritius.

Urgently repatriated in a comatose state to Lille at the end of October 2016 after having swallowed liters of alcohol provided by his enterprising boyfriend, Verstraete had breathed his last after agonizing for nearly four months in a hospital room. From the outset, the young Mauritian R YK had seized Tournai's court (Belgium) to have his inheritance rights recognized. He presented the will drawn up in the last resort by Verstraete to then empty his house in Halluin, in the North, by taking an incalculable number of works of art with the help of a French correspondent who came to support him in exchange probably for the promise of sharing a juicy profit.

It seemed a little strange that this last-minute heir could have arrogated to himself the right to have the house and its contents . Contents should logically have been placed in receivership since the estate was far from being settled. Besides this fellow did not bother to recover from Halluin works entrusted by third parties to Verstraete and which therefore did not belong to him. In this regard, their legitimate owners could accuse the young Mauritian and those who helped him of theft, just like the French tax authorities who were wronged by this impromptu move.

According to the liquidator of the estate, Verstraete, who, during the 1990s, had been involved in the resounding theft of dozens of works by Marc Chagall in the house of the artist's widow in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. He did not own anything more after cheating many easy marks while accumulating huge debts. In contrast, R YK, his Mauritian heir, had accepted it under the benefit of inventory. Suppose an auctioneer had indeed gone into the house of Halluin to list its content.

There could be no question of RYK disposing of it until the case was closed, already knowing that the creditors had little chance of recovering anything, which means that it will be possible -be obliged to report to the French tax authorities.

Le Journal d'un fou d'art. Adrian Darmon

© Ahmet Sali