Art dealer 'likely forged email from Microsoft's Paul Allen offering £10m for ...

An art dealer likely did forge an email from late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen offering $10million for a Picasso painting, a judge found.

Siblings Sean, Lauren and David Carpenter claim Astrid-Caroline Cole falsified an email exchange with billionaire businessman Paul Allen, in which he allegedly offered to buy the Spanish artist's work Le Sauvetage for $10million (£7.6million).

The email simply read 'yes' and 'offer $10m' and the information was relayed to the Carpenters shortly after a dinner at the Tate, lawyers for Ms Cole told the High Court.

But evidence of the email was provided by Ms Cole as a screenshot as the dealer - who trades as ACC Art - says her emails were lost from her laptop and an iPhone containing pertinent correspondence was misplaced.

The Carpenter siblings have launched a bid to bring contempt of court proceedings against Ms Cole and, in a High Court ruling published today, judge Mr Justice Trower said that 'the evidence points to the fabrication of a document for the purpose of misleading the court'.

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Art dealer Astrid-Caroline Cole (pictured) likely did forge an email from late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen offering $10million for Picasso painting Le Sauvetage, a judge has found

Picasso painting Le Sauvetage

Art dealer Astrid-Caroline Cole (left) likely did forge an email from late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen offering $10million for Picasso painting Le Sauvetage (right) a judge has found

German-born Ms Cole is currently suing the Carpenter siblings for breach of contract over the 1932 surrealist painting, which shows a bather being pulled from the water in a beach scene. 

Ms Cole's lawyers claim the siblings, who bought the work in June 2017, did not recognise the importance of the piece until Ms Cole pointed out that the subject of the painting was Marie-Therese Walter, a mistress of Picasso.

Ms Cole claims that she entered into an oral contract with the brothers and sister in 2017, court documents state.

In the contract, it was agreed that, if she could get Le Sauvetage (The Rescue) entered as part of a major Picasso exhibition at the Tate Modern gallery, she would be granted an exclusive right to sell the work for a 12-month period, and receive 10 per cent commission on the sale price achieved for the painting. 

Siblings David, Lauren and Sean Carpenter (pictured left to right) claim Astrid-Caroline Cole falsified an email exchange with billionaire businessman Paul Allen, in which he allegedly offered to buy the Spanish artist's work Le Sauvetage for $10million (£7.6million)

Siblings David, Lauren and Sean Carpenter (pictured left to right) claim Astrid-Caroline Cole falsified an email exchange with billionaire businessman Paul Allen, in which he allegedly offered to buy the Spanish artist's work Le Sauvetage for $10million (£7.6million)

The Carpenters deny there was such a contract, or that Ms Cole was responsible for getting the work into the exhibition.

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They also claim they are not proper parties to the proceedings because, during their dealings with Ms Cole, they were acting as officers or agents of Carpenter Fine Violins and Collectibles LLC, which owned the painting.

Lawyers for Ms Cole say part of her case is that emails from March 2018 show an offer from Mr Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with childhood friend Bill Gates and died in October 2018, to buy the work for $10million, and that this offer was

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