If complaints committees of sector organizations in the art sector are prevented from doing their job, this is a cause for concern about the integrity of the art trade. That says Richard Bronswijk, head of the Art and Antique Crime Team of the National Police.
Bronswijk responds to two articles about art dealer Simonis & Buunk in Ede, yesterday and today in NRC. This shows that director-owner Frank Buunk has been able to prevent arbitration committees of two industry organizations from examining complaints from three art consumers for nine months. They accuse the art trade of conflicts of interest and fraud. Buunk calls these complaints “abhorrent” and wants to prevent the judgment of disciplinary judges from playing a role in the legal proceedings he has initiated against the complainants.
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Buunk declared the ‘arbitration tribunal’ of the KVHOK (association of dealers in ancient art) to have no jurisdiction and threatens with summary proceedings against the association if it continues the arbitration of the complaints filed against him.
The six disciplinary judges of the Federation TMV, an association of valuers of which Simonis & Buunk has been a member for 37 years, returned the order to arbitrate the complaints against Buunk in May. The arbitrators did this because Buunk repeatedly announced that he would recover the damage of a negative judgment from them personally. The disciplinary judges – including two judges and a professor of ethics – explained that as “attempts to disrupt the process by means of intimidation and moral blackmail”.
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The resignation of the disciplinary committee made Buunk “wet with laughter,” he says. “I thought: those disciplinary judges have strong knees.”
The boards of the sector organizations let it be known that the complaints will be dealt with in any case.