Police smash face Banksy factory as counterfeits sold across the world

Police in Spain have dismantled an art forgery ring suspected of selling artworks falsely attributed to British street artist Banksy, with some pieces fetching prices of 1,500 euros or higher.

The Catalonia regional police force Mossos d’Esquadra said it had raided a workshop inside an apartment in the city of Zaragoza, where the forgers created the fake works before distributing them through auction rooms, antique shops or online platforms.

Investigators have seized nine works and recorded at least 25 sales to victims in Spain, Germany, Switzerland, the United States and Scotland, the Mossos added in a statement. Four people are under investigation, charged with fraud and crimes against intellectual property

According to the police, “a couple of young followers of Banksy’s street art with economic problems” created Banksy-style works with stencils and ink stamps from the Zaragoza workshop, which they at first sold at prices no higher than 80 euros.

Fake works attributed to the artist Banksy and found in a workshop

(Mossos D’Esquadra via REUTERS)

But a distributor “with knowledge of the functioning of the graphic work market”, in collaboration with an “interested distribution entity”, made fake certificates attributing the works to the secretive Banksy, whose identity has never been revealed.

The artworks were presented as being part of Banksy’s “Dismaland” project, a 2015 theme park-style installation in the British town of Weston-super-Mare.

But the company Pest Control, the only body that certifies Banksy’s oeuvre, found that both the artworks and certificates were false.

The fake Banksy workshop in Spain

(Mossos D’Esquadra via REUTERS)

“The investigation remains open and further victims and new arrests are not ruled out,” the Mossos added.

Pest Control is the only point of sale for new work by the artist. The website advises how tell if Banksy merchandise is genuine: “Banksy only makes merchandise sporadically for certain specific projects. The result being that if something looks like a ‘Banksy product’ it almost certainly isn’t.

“So whilst it’s admittedly quite funny that one nutter in Norway legally changed their name to ‘Banksy’ in order to get paid to endorse wine, you should treat any such products with scepticism. Heard of the phrase ‘in vino veritas’? Doesn’t apply here.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button