Developer Michael Shvo said this week he expects to be acquitted on charges that he evaded $1 million in taxes.
The former luxury broker, turned art collector, turned developer was indicted last week on charges that he and his companies, Shvo Art Ltd. and Seren LLC, two shipping companies and their principals were part of a scheme to evade payment of more than $1 million in tax associated with the purchase of fine art, furniture, jewelry, and a luxury sports vehicle.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. alleges that between 2010 and 2016, Shvo told auction houses his art buys were being shipped to the Cayman Islands and he would not, therefore, have to pay sales tax.
But the purchases were shipped to his office or homes in New York, including an apartment on Columbus Circle and a house in New York’s Hamptons, said the DA.
The shipping companies allegedly gave the auction documentation that deliberately misrepresented the destination of Shvo’s purchases.
The DA also accused Shvo of fraudulently used New York Resale Certificates, which allow dealers to purchase items solely for the purpose of resale without paying sales tax, in connection with a number of personal purchases, including jewelry valued at more than $65,000 for his wife and furniture for his office in New York.
Shvo also allegedly evaded taxes on a new Ferrari 458 Spider that he bought from an out-of-state dealer by establishing a limited liability company in Montana when he never conducted business there and used the vehicle in New York.
In a statement, Shvo’s spokesman said, “Mr. Shvo looks forward to his day in court where he will mount a defense to all charges related to his art collecting, and is confident he will be acquitted. In purchasing art, he did not act with any corrupt or criminal intent whatsoever. While Mr. Shvo is a proud art collector he has not committed any crime.”