As Alfred Taubman was sentenced to a year and a day in jail with a fine of $7.5m for rigging vendor's commissions with his counterpart at Christie's, Sir Anthony Tennant, Royal Academy members were calling for Sir Anthony to resign his post as chairman of the RA trust in the light of events in America.
Sir Anthony had been charged along with Taubman but could not be extradited to stand trial because price fixing was not a crime under UK law at the time. A knighted scion of a brewing dynasty and pillar of the establishment, Sir Anthony had already resigned several City directorships in the wake of the price-fixing scandal. Soon after the complaints were lodged by RA members, the Academy announced that he would be stepping down from his post later this year.
Taubman is due to begin his prison sentence on August 1 after a judge dismissed letters by Henry Kissinger, Queen Noor of Jordan and former president Gerald Ford, attesting to the good character and frail health of the multimillionaire philanthropist.
Judge Daniels made clear that he believed the conspiracy was in effect a robbery, motivated by arrogance and greed, for which Alfred Taubman had shown no remorse. Despite the conviction and sentencing of Mr Taubman, and the disgrace of Sir Anthony, the long running auction saga has yet to reach its conclusion.
Sotheby's former chief executive, Diana D. Brooks, will be sentenced this week for her part in the scandal, while in Europe both auction houses face the possibility of heavy fines from the European Commission and lawsuits from aggrieved vendors.