Georg Baselitz: Tax Officials Search Home of Famous German Artist
After North Rhine-Westphalia bought a CD last summer with data on secret bank accounts, tax authorities have another high-profile case in their cross-hairs. They searched the Bavarian home of artist Georg Baselitz, whose work fetches millions on the international market, in a tax investigation.
The hunt for tax evaders is heating up in Germany: Tax investigators recently swept the home of acclaimed artist Georg Baselitz, confiscating several crates of files.
The artist's name appeared on a list of clients with the Swiss bank UBS, which was on a CD containing data on secret bank accounts bought by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia last summer. Despite widespread media coverage of this purchase, Baselitz did not turn himself in to the tax authority -- unlike the president of football club Bayern Munich, Uli Hoeness, who admitted to tax evasion in April. The bank itself has urged clients to "actively resolve their tax problems," if need be.
In response to a SPIEGEL inquiry, Baselitz said via his secretary that he does not owe millions of euros in taxes and that there is no arrest warrant against him. He did not, however, deny that an investigation is underway, nor did he deny having now settled his tax debt.
Seven years ago, Baselitz sold Derneburg Palace in Lower Saxony, which he bought in the 1970s, and moved into a striking villa on the banks of the Ammersee, designed by celebrated Swiss architects Herzog & Meuron.
"Despite all the taxes people pay, there supposedly isn't any money in this country for art," he complained in a SPIEGEL interview earlier this year.
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