Bond jailed for three years for art fraud

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The Independent Online
Failed Australian businessman Alan Bond was jailed for three years yesterday for fraud involving a French impressionist painting.

In sentencing Bond, the Australian judge said the jail term was not the maximum 14-year sentence, but it would be like a "life sentence" as it would haunt the former high-flyer forever.

Bond, lauded as Australian of the Year after winning the America's Cup yacht race in 1983, will appeal against the conviction, his lawyers later said.

Bond, whose personal fortune was estimated at A$350m (pounds 180m) in the late 1980s, was found guilty last Friday on four fraud charges surrounding the sale of Edouard Manet's La Promenade.

The jury found that Bond, 58, had improperly used his position as director of his former corporate flagship, Bond Corporation Holdings, to allow his private company to buy La Promenade for about A$10m less than its value in 1988.

His private company, Dallhold Investments, bought the painting for A$2.46m and sold it a year later at auction in New York for A$17m.

Judge Antoinette Kennedy said Bond's passion for art and his inability to accept that Bond Corporation was no longer his private fiefdom led to the fraud offences.

The judge dismissed a claim by defence lawyers that a custodial sentence would kill Bond because of his failing health.

An avid art collector in his heyday, Bond faces further charges associated with the collapse of his corporate empire in the early 1990s.

He was jailed for two-and-a-half years in 1992 after being found guilty of inducing a former friend to contribute to the rescue of a Western Australia bank while concealing a A$16m fee for his own company.

He served only a few months in jail before a second jury acquitted him at a retrial.