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James Tharin and Brian Blockovich, the chief operating officer and chief executive officer of CCC, will be visiting dealers at both the Olympia fair and Asian Art in London. Their aim is to buy and sell the vendors’ certificates that made up part of the compensation award of the US tranche of the Sotheby’s-Christie’s price-fixing settlement. This means that those selling to them will get an immediate payment rather than having to wait any longer.

As reported in Antiques Trade Gazette No 1630, March 13, they have also devised a scheme to enable European dealers and collectors recoup the tax of around 30 per cent levied by the US Federal tax authorities. Mr Tharin says that so far more than 100 people have taken advantage of this retrieval service.

Close to a year after the initial settlement deadline of December 10 2003, the lengthy payment process in the international (non-US) side of the price-fixing settlement is yet to be concluded. Adding a second layer of bureaucracy, some dealers have recently been in receipt of a follow-up claim form, and cheques will not be issued until the validity of every claim is evaluated.