Luxembourg Freeport

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Luxembourg Freeport
Industry Freeport
Headquarters Luxembourg
Key people
  • David Arendt, Managing Director.
Website www.lefreeport.lu
The main hall

Luxembourg Freeport is a €50-million high security storage facility adjacent to Luxembourg Findel Airport. The freeport opened in September 2014.

The building[edit]

The building was designed by Atelier d'Architecture 3BM3, with interior design by Johanna Grawunder.[1] The atrium includes a large mural by the Portuguese artist Vhils, etched into one of the concrete walls.[1]

Luxembourg Freeport provides temperature and humidity controlled storage for works of art and other valuables.[2]

Security for the facility is primarily provided by a security system which includes more than 300 CCTV cameras. Also part of the overall security infrastructure is a fire protection system that "sucks oxygen from the atmosphere" rather than using water that might damage works of art.[2] The facility is surrounded by walls topped with barbed wire and the four bullion rooms have 50-cm thick metal doors. There are also four special climate-controlled rooms capable of storing up to 700,000 bottles of wine.[3]

Attractions[edit]

According to The Economist, the "attractions are similar to those offered by offshore financial centres: security and confidentiality, not much scrutiny, the ability for owners to hide behind nominees, and an array of tax advantages."[4]

Apart from security, the attraction for customers is that they can store and trade works of art and other valuable items without having to pay customs or sales tax.[3] Tax-free status is possible because the items stored at the facility are technically "in transit". As the Freeport's back doors open directly onto the airport, anything therein is deemed not to have actually yet entered Luxembourg.[3]

Ownership[edit]

Luxembourg Freeport is majority owned by the Swiss businessman and art dealer Yves Bouvier, who also owns majority stakes in the freeports of Singapore and Geneva. Bouvier was one of three people arrested in Monaco in February 2015 on suspicion of fraud through the sale of works of art at inflated prices or with fake documentation.[5] Tony Reynard, the chairman of Bouvier's Singapore freeport, has said, "We had to move on to Luxembourg because Geneva was full. With Luxembourg we have an airport that can handle cargo. In Geneva you have to move everything by road."[3] Reynard added that there were plans to expand to Dubai and Shanghai.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Atelier d'Architecture 3BM3 completes concrete tax haven for artworks in Luxembourg". Dezeen. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Harper, Justin. "New freeport where all prized assets (bar human hair) can be stashed". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Blenkinsop, Philip. "Luxembourg opens art freeport to lure super-rich". Reuters. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Freeports: Über-warehouses for the ultra-rich". The Economist. 23 November 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Monaco FC owner Rybolovlev among alleged victims of huge art scam" Rory Mulholland, The Telegraph, 26 February 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.

External links[edit]