Art Dealer Admits Lying to FBI Over Faked $2 Million Picasso

A West Hollywood art dealer pleaded guilty today to selling a fake Pablo Picasso drawing of a woman in a blue hat for $2 million, according to the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles.


This fake Pablo Picasso drawing of a woman in a blue hat was for sale for $2 million.

The dealer, Tatiana Khan, said she paid an art restorer $1,000 to recreate Picasso’s 1902 pastel, “La Femme au Chapeau Bleu,” which she passed off as being part of the family collection of the late publisher Malcolm Forbes, according to her plea agreement filed earlier today in U.S. District Court.

An anonymous buyer of the fake drawing grew suspicious about the work’s authenticity two years ago and reached out to a Picasso expert, who later contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Ms. Khan told the FBI she had acquired the drawing of a prim woman wearing an indigo-plumed hat from an acquaintance, according to her plea agreement. She later confessed to the FBI that she had asked the restorer to lie about copying the work. (The original work belongs to a private collector, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Ranee Katzenstein.)

Ms. Khan, 70 years old, will appear in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles early next month to enter a guilty plea on two felony counts: making false statements to the FBI and witness tampering. As part of her plea deal, she has agreed to pay back the $2 million and give up a Willem de Kooning abstract work she bought with a portion of the sale proceeds. She faces a federal prison sentence of anywhere from 21 months to 25 years.

Ms. Kahn’s attorney, James W. Spertus, said that his client has had a 45-year career as an art dealer and hopes to continue her profession after “accepting responsibility for making a false statement to the FBI.”

Kelly Crow, Wall Street Journal


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