He burst onto the scene, a young man in a hurry, with an eye for art and a nose for a deal.

Before age 30, he was bidding millions for works by the likes of Basquiat, Kusama and Stingel for investors with money to spend. Then, in a blink, he vanished, leaving a trail of mystery and scandal in his wake.

Where in the world is Inigo Philbrick?

That is a question on many lips this week as artists, gallery owners and collectors descend on Miami Beach for one of the biggest events on the art world’s calendar.

Art Basel Miami Beach is buzzing about Philbrick, the central figure in what some are calling the biggest art scandal in years.

Philbrick, 32, disappeared from public view after being hit by a wave of lawsuits accusing him of fraud. The Art Basel crowd worries the affair will reinforce buyers’ worst fears about global trade, where even legitimate business often is done on the sly.

“It checks every box in a bad way,” said Los Angeles-based art dealer Timothy Blum. “So gross.”

Like the $67 billion art market, the Philbrick story stretches around the world. Its tentacles have wrapped around major auction houses, as well as an art-finance firm linked to billionaire George Soros.

At the center of it all are allegations — made in six lawsuits filed in London, New York and Miami — that Philbrick sold the same art works to different investors, sometimes at inflated prices. Companies in Asia, Europe and the U.S. have staked claims, some competing, to various pieces.

The allegations, which first came to light in October, seem to have driven Philbrick underground. This week, as champagne began to flow at Art Basel, his gallery in Miami appeared to be closed. A stylish figure with strawberry blonde hair and three-day stubble beard, Philbrick hasn’t been spotted for weeks at the trendy Japanese restaurant in Bal Harbour where he’s a regular. In London, a “for rent” sign was hanging outside his gallery.

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