A man has been charged with fraud over allegations that forgeries of works by artist Tracey Emin were sold on eBay. One alleged victim claims to have paid between £15,000 and £20,00 for the pieces over two years.
Emin, who was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1999 for My Bed – an installation comprising her own unmade bed – gave a statement to police. Jonathan Rayfern, 32, ogManchester, was later arrested and held along with a second man.
Rob Pett, a spokesman for Greater Manchester Crown Prosecution Service, said that, having reviewed a file passed to the CPS by police, Mr Rayfern had been charged with "fraud by false representation and dishonestly obtaining property by deception", adding that: "These charges relate to the sales of forged artworks."
The arrest was made after an investigation by the Met Police's arts and antiques unit. A Scotland Yard spokesman confirmed that Mr Rayfern "has been charged with two counts of deception and five counts of fraud".
Tracey Emin found fame after she unveiled her 1997 work Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995 - a tent with the names of all of her sexual partners to date embroidered into it. The tent was later destroyed in a fire. Her My Bed piece was sold to Charles Saatchi for £150,000.
Emin recently signed up to a £1m project to give some of London's poorest youngsters an understanding of the art world. As part of the Young Arts Project – organised by five galleries in conjunction with fashion brand Louis Vuitton – Emin will give them an insight into her working methods.
It is not yet clear which Emin works were allegedly forged and sold on the internet site. Mr Rayfern is scheduled to appear at Manchester Magistrates' Court on 17 June. No further action is being taken against the second man.