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Swiss Lawyer Uses $500,000 Artwork to Post Bail

W460

A partner in a Swiss law firm who pleaded guilty to helping American clients evade tax offered up a 19th century painting worth $500,000 (375,000 euros) as bail, local media reported Sunday.

Tax lawyer Edgar Paltzer used French master Charles-Francois Daubigny's 1862 work "La gardeuse de chevres" (The goat herder) to pay part of his $2 million bail in New York, where he has been detained since April on tax fraud charges.

"To escape from the claws of American justice and see their families, some Swiss bankers remortgage their homes or seek help from relatives. Zurich lawyer Edgar Paltzer provided a nineteenth century canvas," reported Swiss newspaper Le Matin.

The bail conditions allow the lawyer to leave the United States and return to Switzerland as long as he agrees not to fight any future extradition order.

Daubigny was one of the painters of the Barbizon school, seen as an important precursor to the Impressionist movement.

The painting was estimated to be worth between $450,000 and $500,000 by an independent expert.

Paltzer has admitted to helping clients with Swiss bank accounts avoid tax as a former partner in Swiss law firm Niederer Kraft & Frey, and said he was ready to cooperate with the U.S. authorities to reduce any future sentence.

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