Antiquorum Auctioneers SA is alleging that the company’s former co-founder and chief executive officer was involved in fraudulent activities at the high-profile watch-auction house, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The watch auctioneer has filed a criminal complaint in a Geneva court saying that Osvaldo Patrizzi was involved in theft of valuable watches, the newspaper reports. The complaint also accuses Patrizzi of misappropriating company funds and false accounting, according to the statement, which was released late Tuesday, the newspaper reports. The complaint was filed in October, 2007.
Patrizzi responded with a statement refusing to comment “on this new maneuver, rejecting any factual foundation to these accusations.”
The statement also notes the “coincidence,” that the statement was released on the same day as the announcement of the creation of Patrizzi & Co Auctioneers, Antiquorum SA.
The statement adds, “In their eyes it represents yet another of many attempts to destabilize, manipulate, and intimidate, being aimed personally at Osvaldo Patrizzi and his associates. This new move on the part of Antiquorum SA is the ultimate proof of how much the company’s management sees the creation of Patrizzi & Co Auctioneers as a threat to its own long-term perspectives.
Patrizzi, in the statement, said his lawyers are “currently preparing a complaint for defamatory accusations that will shortly be filed.”
Antiquorum said in its statement that Patrizzi “employed deception…to enrich himself personally, in some instances by millions of Swiss francs at the expense of parties invested in Antiquorum,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
A lawyer representing Antiquorum, said the complaint reflected the findings of an independent audit conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, the newspaper reports.