Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
Oligarchs cannot be blamed for being extra-opportunistic anyway.
That said, art has been commoditised for too long without being properly regulated.
Nearly a third of art collectors and professionals surveyed last year by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. said they had used a freeport. Experts speculate that the freeport in Geneva, which traces its roots back to 1854 and is controlled by local authorities, may house the most valuable art collection in the world—although its holdings are generally secret.
Someone interested in laundering money could arrange to use ill-gotten funds to purchase a painting inside of a freeport, Mr. Palmer said, and then resell the painting inside of the facility a few months later. Experts say it can be difficult for a customs official relying on a printed summary of a sale conducted inside a freeport to know for sure if the amount exchanged was appropriate, or if a painting that was purportedly sold was real.