Pei-Shen Qian, the painter accused of forging works by artists including Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning in a 33 million USD fraud scheme will likely avoid prosecution and a prison sentence since he fled from New York to China, a law expert said.
The 75-year-old painter on monday was indicted on charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and lying to the FBI, according to the Guardian. Qian worked with with two Spanish art dealers to produce and sell worthless fakes at upscale Manhattan galleries for tens of millions of dollars, even forging artists’ signatures onto the paintings and covering them with tea-bags to make them appear aged.
The dealers are awaiting likely extradition proceedings after being arrested in Spain last week, but prosecutors believe that the Obama administration has little chance of extracting Qian in China, which has no extradition treaty with the US.
“There is almost no chance that China would turn their own citizen over,” said Ku.
“They generally don’t have a policy of co-operating, and don’t have any reason to turn anyone over, because the US won’t turn anyone over to China,” Professor Julian Ku, an expert on China and international law at Hofstra University, told the Guardian.