Achenbach’s Wife Wants Her Artworks Back

She has filed a countersuit against her husband’s accusers.

Helge and Dorothee Achenbach.
Photo: Westdeutsche Zeitung

The German art adviser Helge Achenbach has been awaiting trial in jail for four months for allegedly defrauding the late collector and heir to the Aldi supermarkets fortune, Berthold Albrecht (see: “Germany’s Top Art Advisor Being Investigated for Fraud”). According to Monopol, in the latest development of the affair, Mr. Achenbach’s wife Dorothee has filed a countersuit against her husband’s accusers.

In a statement released by Düsseldorf District Court last Thursday, she claims she is the sole owner of four artworks valued at €530,000. The artworks were frozen together with Mr. Achenbach’s other assets at the request of Albrecht’s family, shortly after Mr. Achenbach’s arrest in June. Mrs. Achenbach is due to appear in court on November 11th—only 30 minutes after the first court appointment for the €19.4 million criminal damages case brought against Mr. Achenbach by the Albrecht family.

According to Düsseldorf District Court, the artworks include one painting by Günther Uecker and one painting by the Düsseldorf-based artist Thomas Schönauer, as well as two ceramic pieces.

One of the best-known art experts in Germany, Mr. Achenbach has been held under “investigatory detention” since June, following the Albrecht family’s accusations that Mr. Achenbach forged invoices to inflate the prices of artworks and classic cars. Lawyers representing Mr. Achenbach have denied the accusations, stating that many of the agreements between the late Albrecht and Mr. Achenbach were verbal and thus not reflected by the documents the Albrecht family claims to possess.

Meanwhile the Viehof brothers, investment fund managers from the western German city of Mönchengladbach, have also accused Achenbach of fraud (see “Second Billionaire Bilked By German Art Adviser”). Prosecutors have given unconfirmed indications that there are two more victims of Achenbach’s alleged illicit practices.

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