REUTERS: LOU PROUD
English ex pat Lou Proud in theft allegation
An English woman, Ms. Lou Proud, the dismissed head of photographs at Phillips auctions in London, insisted in a telephone interview with Aljazeera correspondent Shaista Kumar that she was innocent of allegations of stealing photographic prints that were given to her in good faith for consignment to Phillips auctions in 2015. She was questioned by local police last month but no charges were preferred. Proud will be leaving her current post at the end of the month .
Ms Proud, 46 years of age, of Hampstead , London, lost a civil action leading to her dismissal from Phillips auctions for racially aggravated harassment prior to working for the Qatar Museum Authority; she is being sued by two parties, including her former employer, for the return of the artworks which are valued at over £150,000.
In a separate incident, Ms. Proud was threatened with a restraining order by the British photographer Alison Jackson after Proud allegedly ' bombarded ' Jackson with phone calls and emails claiming that she owed her back payment for freelance work allegedly contracted by Jackson.
An order for costs has been served in the UK against Ms Proud for £250,000 by her former legal firm Kingsley Napley LLC .
Proud has been to Paris twice in the past three months where she may take up a position at the Thierry Marlat gallery. Proud claimed to be in a state of ' considerable agitation' and suffering from 'panic attacks' for which she is seeking medical help. She claimed that Mr Marlat, her former boyfriend, believes there is no truth to the art theft allegation; She has been unhappy working in Qatar where she says women are treated as ' second class citizens' and their contributions ' undervalued'. ' There is definitely a cultural conflict and as a western woman I cannot get used to certain attitudes which are deeply ingrained in this culture. I am glad to be leaving.'
Proud admitted that Mr Marlat and Gabrielle Du Plooy of Zebra gallery in London had supplied her with photographic prints for sale in Doha. Mr Marlat insisted in an interview with a Reuters correspondent last year that he had neither seen nor heard from Proud for four years as associating with her was considered a 'liability' . Mr Marlat refused to comment on the rumour that Proud's client, the Swiss banker Bjorn Von Below had colluded with Proud in criminal malfeasance.
Proud filed for bankruptcy before departing the UK for Qatar last month.