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Last Updated: Friday, 20 August, 2004, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Monet art broker on fraud charges
The deal was brokered in 1999
A US art broker has been accused of defrauding a buyer out of $1.9m (1m) over the sale of a Claude Monet work.

Prosecutors say Rocco DeSimone tricked the buyer into paying more than the seller was asking, and misleading the seller as to its worth.

The Rhode Island man is due to appear in court in September on two counts of fraud and one of lying on a tax return.

The sale relates to Monet's Canal in Zaandam, which was sold for more than $4.6m (2.5m) in 1999.

Prosecutors allege Mr DeSimone sold the painting on behalf of a New York woman who wanted $3m (1.6m) for it.

She was told by Mr DeSimone that he could only get $2.7m (1.4m). But he had already found a buyer willing to pay $4.6m (2.5m), according to US attorney Robert Clark Corrente.

The defendant is accused of keeping the difference.

Mr DeSimone sold two other paintings at the same time, Les Mouettes by Matisse for $650,000 (355,675) and Jeune Fille Blonde for Renoir for $3m (1.6m), bringing the total bill to $8.3m (4.5m).

He was indicted by a federal grand duty in Providence, Rhode Island and is due at an arraignment hearing next month.

If convicted he faces up to five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000 (136,789) for each charge.

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