Friday, July 18, 2008

Wassmann Foundation denies involvement in U.S. Senate subcommittee findings


Washington, D.C., July 18, 2008 — Officials at the Wassmann Foundation, Washington, D.C. today have strongly denied reports that recent financial shortfalls at the foundation (ARTINFO background link) are in any way associated with the illegal transfer of funds to accounts in either Liechtenstein or Switzerland, which are the subject of this week’s hearings by the investigations subcommittee of the U. S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

In particular, lawyers for the foundation deny any financial ties to the Swiss bank UBS. While acknowledging that several officials of the foundation did attend functions sponsored by UBS at Art Basel Miami Beach on December 5, 2007 and December 7, 2007, at no point was any transfer of funds to either Liechtenstein or Switzerland discussed as has been suggested, nor was any transfer of funds subsequently made. Officials also deny having been involved in any third-party discussions implicating transfer of funds offshore.

No foundation officials have been called before the Senate subcommittee in this week’s hearings and nowhere in the Senate report Tax Haven Banks and U.S. Tax Compliance is the Wassmann Foundation implicated. As reported in today’s Miami Herald, UBS is now cooperating fully with U.S. authorities; UBS has not named the Wassmann Foundation as a client.

The Wassmann Foundation is currently working toward returning to a solid financial footing and remains fully committed to meeting its obligations for the establishment of MuseumZeitraum Leipzig in September 2009.

In November 2007, MuseumZeitraum and the Wassmann Foundation signed a watershed accord under which the foundation would repatriate over 100 of Johann Dieter Wassmann’s early modernist assemblage works to Leipzig, while providing financial assistance toward establishment of the museum. ARTINFO background link

The long-awaited institution will house the works of the pioneering German modernist Johann Dieter Wassmann (1841-1898), a native Leipziger. Two years in construction, the critically-acclaimed MuseumZeitraum facility has been carved out of the shell of a turn-of-the-century Jugendstil building in central Leipzig.

The Wassmann Foundation’s Kaufman Director, Jeffrey D. Wassmann, is unavailable for comment as he remains in Australia recovering from open-heart surgery in June. He is not expected to return to the United States for some months.

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