Final Word from Thursday, May 30, 2013

In the film "Ve stínu," the main character buys a Slavíček painting to avoid losing his money in the 1953 currency reform. Art has long been a way to store value and is also occasionally used to hide assets, evade taxes or launder dirty money. It's easy to put a fake value on a real or fake painting, and it's also easy to use art as a sort of bearer instrument. Whoever's wall a painting is hanging on is the de facto owner. That's what makes the case of the Mucha collection of posters so interesting. It was put together by Ivan Lendl, but he's being coy about who the current owner is. The most plausible scenario, as first suggested by James de Candole, is that Martin Roman bought the posters from Lendl for $3.7m and used his partner from BillBoard, Richard Fuxa, as the frontman. If Lendl doesn't want to be suspected of aiding some shenanigans with ČEZ or MUS money, he should declare publicly who owns the Lendl Collection.[Czech Republic Alfons Alphonse In the Shadow Antonín Mostecká uhelná billboards]

Glossary of difficult words

Ve stínu - the English title is "In the Shadow"; 

Antonín Slavíček - (1870-1910) a renowned Czech painter; 

bearer instrument - a security owned by the person currently in possession of it; 

Alfons (Alphonse) Mucha - (1860-1939) a Czech art nouveau painter and artist; 

coy - reluctant to give details, esp. regarding something regarded as sensitive; 

plausible - seeming reasonable or probable; 

frontman - a person who represents a group or organization, in particular a person who represents an illegal or disreputable organization to give an air of legitimacy; 

shenanigans - secret or dishonest activity or maneuvering.

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