MONACO: Divorcing couple Maurice & Tracey Amon fight over art & jurisdiction

The Parties in this divorce action:

They are Mr and Mrs Maurice Alain Amon. He is a Swiss born entrepreneur living in Monaco with homes in various countries including a chalet in Gstaad Switzerland and apartments in London and Manhattan. She is Tracey Hejailan.

When Was the Divorce filed:

The divorce was filed in October 2015 in Monaco by Mr Amon. Mrs Amon brought a competing and subsequent Action in Manhattan.

Main source of contention in the divorce:

Art & Jurisdiction.

First for the art. The wife, Mrs Hejailan Amon claimed in 2015 that her husband had hidden a lot of their art – $25M worth of Warhol, Cy Twombly, Basquait (whose work was subsequently put up for sale at Christies in November 2015) and Hirst  in storage  in Queens New York. When Mrs Amon discovered that her husband had tried to sell the Basquait, all hell broke lose. She had her lawyers run to Manhattan Supreme to get a restraining order on all the artwork the couple owed. According to Vanity Fair:

Upon learning that her husband was trying to put a Basquiat, which had been hanging in their Paris apartment, up for auction at Christie’s in November, Hejailan’s attorney, Aaron Richard Golub, filed for a temporary restraining order that would freeze the couple’s global art collection. The judge granted the request without hearing from Amon’s attorneys, something the court does not usually do, because Hejailan’s representatives presented it as an emergency. In addition to the Basquiat, the collection includes an Alexander Calder, a Damien Hirst, a Takashi Murakami, a Warhol, and three works by Richard Prince.

The pair’s lawyers met in court Thursday in front of New York Civil Supreme Court Judge Robert Reed, who said he was “embarrassed” and felt “bamboozled” that he had been persuaded by Hejailan side’s claim of urgency. He modified the restraining order to only include the 20 works of art that were held in the couple’s New York apartment; the remainder of the global collection is no longer under a freeze. The temporary restraining order that still remains on the New York works will hold until the judge reaches a decision, which he has 60 days to do.

Second, the issue of jurisdiction. On the husband’s side, Jurisdiction is with Monaco because Monaco is their main place of residence and to prove his point, he brought the judge pictures of his wife’s shoe collection, explaining that people only kept that many shoes in their main place of resident. The jurisdictional advantage here is obvious:

With no concept of shared marital property in Monacan law, Mr Amon could lay claim to the entire collection as ownership of the artworks would be determined according to who holds legal title. Under New York law, Ms Hejalin would at least be entitled to a portion of the collection. She argues that proceedings should take place in New York as the couple’s main marital home is their Fifth Avenue apartment. On the contrary, Mr Bronstein says they called their £26 million Monaco property home:

“One need only look at the number of shoes in her closet to conclude she lives there,” he said.

Source of their wealth

Mr Amon inherited the wealth from his family whose business is his wealth from his family’s security company, SICPA which provided secure ink to print banknotes.

 

 

Their assets are numerous including property in New York, Monaco and

In New York they Mr Anon bought an apartment at 834 Fifth Avenue, just across from the Central Park Zoo which the Wall Street Journal called at the time, “rare.” in 2010

 

http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=5bb48cca-7be8-47d9-82a9-111b8742add3

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