New Tory treasurer Ehud Sheleg was involved in a legal battle over a missing Rolf Harris painting that saw one judge brand him “personally and dishonestly responsible for its loss” before the case was overturned on appeal.
The Conservatives have appointed Sheleg treasurer of the Conservative Party in a job share with the party’s chief executive Sir Mick Davis. The art collector and owner of the Halcyon Gallery in Mayfair donated more than £550,000 to the Conservatives before last year’s general election.
Sheleg, also known by his nickname Udi, was embroiled in a legal battle in 2010 after a subsidiary of his art business was accused by a widow of losing a Rolf Harris painting that her late husband had entrusted to it for safekeeping. The painting named Lovers on the Seine II was said to be worth £95,000 in 2005, nine years before Harris was found guilty on twelve counts of indecent assault.
A judge initially found in against Sheleg’s Halcyon Galleries business, calling him an “éminence grise” who knew “full well where the painting is or where it has gone and that he is personally and dishonestly responsible for its loss”, before the verdict was overturned on appeal leaving widow Maxine Hardy with a £200,000 legal bill.
Following the conclusion of the legal battle the Sunday Express issued an appeal for any information on the painting’s whereabouts, but to date there have been no reports suggesting that the artwork has been found.