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Former Sotheby's Chairman Sentenced to Prison - 2002-04-22


The former chairman of Sotheby's has been sentenced to a year in prison and fined $7.5 million for entering an illegal price-fixing agreement with rival auction house, Christie's.

Last December A. Alfred Taubman, 78, and his counterpart at rival auction house, Christie's, were convicted of overcharging Sotheby's sellers almost $44 million over six years.

The U.S. Justice Department, which prosecuted the case, had asked that Taubman be sentenced to three years in prison. Mr. Taubman's lawyers, citing their client's advanced years and ill-health, asserted that any prison term "would almost certainly be a life sentence."

Mr. Taubman's lawyers also said he should be given special consideration because of his generous contributions to charity over the years. The court acknowledged these contributions, but said they were not unusual for a man worth more than $640 million.

Mr. Taubman's co-conspirator, Anthony Tennent of Christie's, remains in England. He will not face the court because he cannot be extradited to the United States on antitrust charges.

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