With a net worth of $15.2 billion, as of 2017, according to Forbes, Joseph Lau has used his economic power to buy art—and allegedly buying land illegally. Lau, a Hong Kong real-estate tycoon and chairman of Chinese Estates Holdings, has collected art for over 30 years, and caught the attention of market watchers in 2006 for buying an Andy Warhol “Mao” painting for $17.4 million, a record for a work in that series. (Lau also famously paid $39.2 million for a Paul Gauguin painting in 2007.) In March 2014, Lau was found guilty of bribery and money laundering in a real-estate scandal. He was sentenced to five years in jail, but, because the trial happened in Macau and Lau hails from Hong Kong, he will remain free, unless he sets foot in Macau. (Joseph’s brother Thomas is also included on the ARTnews Top 200.)
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