Soho art dealer Georges Bergès, whose eponymous gallery represents Hunter Biden, son of U.S. president Joe Biden, believes he and his gallery staffers thwarted a financial hack yesterday morning. Nevertheless, as the dealer explained in a phone conversation with Artnet News today, there are reasons to remain vigilant.
The attempted hack was first reported by the , which stated that gallery staffers feared financial transactions related to Hunter Biden had been hacked after a client alerted them to a phony invoice. The document requested payment to an account not controlled by the gallery.
Days earlier, staffers discovered that the gallery’s phone number had been “compromised” by a number traced to Turkey. Speaking to Artnet News, Bergès described this second detail as “an issue with a Turkish phone number attached to our phone number.” He said the gallery is still investigating the issue.
“Everything is secure and nothing was compromised,” Bergès stressed. “We caught everything on time, but we did feel obligated to report it to the police.”
Photographs provided by Bergès show various NYPD officers at the gallery speaking with the dealer. Bergès said he hoped that the incident would merit an investigation, even though it was “technically not a crime because we stopped it.”
Unsurprisingly, Bergès explained, the gallery has been “a target for a lot of people who are not looking to do good things, both nationally and internationally.” He stressed that he was “taking a lot of security measures, especially as we near the election and emotions start running higher.”
Bergès also confirmed to Artnet News that, his gallery had received a third letter from Kentucky representative James Comer (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, this week. Comer is investigating the Biden family related to charges of influence-peddling.
The dealer explained that the letter asks him to “turn over documents and communications the gallery has had with the White House and with Hunter and identify who the buyers [of Biden’s artworks are].”
He told Artnet News that he was leaving the question of how to handle the issue up to his attorneys.
“I want to comply as much as possible, so long as I take everyone’s interest into account,” Bergès said. “I can’t just arbitrarily ignore everybody’s privacy and do what I want.”