PARIS Jan 13 The French financial prosecutor's
office said on Friday that it had launched an appeal against an
earlier ruling this week to acquit wealthy art dealer Guy
Wildenstein and seven others of tax fraud charges.
In a statement, the financial prosecutor's office said there
were valid grounds for an appeal given that "the case had shown
a clear intention to evade paying tax", even if the final ruling
had been to acquit the defendants.
Wildenstein and the other defendants were acquitted this
week due to a legal loophole which the Paris court acknowledged
might not be understood by the general public.
Wildenstein and two family members, as well as their
financiers and lawyers, were accused of deliberately
understating to tax authorities the real value of family riches
inherited about a decade ago and placed in trusts abroad.
The case did not produce a guilty verdict because France's
tax legislation at the time lacked clarity on the declaration of
inheritance assets parked in financial trusts, the court said.
The law was amended in 2011 to close this loophole.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta)