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BLOOMFIELD HILLS, MI-A New York federal jury Wednesday found wealthy Bloomfield Hills, MI real estate developer A. Alfred Taubman guilty of one charge of fixing commission rates charged to sellers of works of art, jewelry and furniture while he was chairman of Sotheby’s auction house.

The jury decided Taubman, 76, had arranged to fix prices with Anthony J. Tennant, a member of the board of directors of Christie’s auction house, from 1993 to 1999 in violation of the federal Sherman Act. Taubman could face up to three years in jail and a $350,000 fine at his April 2 sentencing.

Sotheby’s and Christie’s International are the two largest auction houses in the world.Taubman is founder of Taubman Centers Inc. which owns and/or manages 28 urban and suburban regional and super regional shopping centers in 12 states. His son, Robert Taubman, is president and CEO of the company.

“We are all shocked and saddened,” Karen MacDonald, Taubman Centers’ Director of Communications, says in a prepared statement. “Our thoughts are with Mr. Taubman and his family at this time.”

According to court testimony, Sotheby’s and Christie’s charged sellers at least $400 million in commissions during the six-year international conspiracy. The two firms control more than 90% of the world’s live auctions of works of art, jewelry and furniture, the Justice Department’s lawsuit alleges.

In October 2000, Sotheby’s and its former CEO, Diana D. Brooks, pleaded guilty to separate charges of fixing commission rates charged to sellers. Sotheby’s has been sentenced to pay a fine of $45 million. Brooks has not been sentenced.

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