Guggenheim Bilbao Honcho Embezzled $800K

Museum sues CFO after years of fraud
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 18, 2008 10:15 AM CDT
The CFO of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao has admitted embezzling $800,000 and covering up the fraud.   ((c) josu.orbe)
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(Newser) – The Guggenheim Museum's outpost in Bilbao is suing its director of finance after he admitted embezzling $800,000 from the institution's coffers. In a long mea culpa letter to the museum's director, Robert Cearsolo Barrenetxea confessed that he had used bank transfers and fraudulent checks to line his own pockets and had falsified the museum's financial statements to hide the deception, reports the Independent.

Cearsolo has been fired, The revelation is a major embarassment for the Bilbao museum, whose Frank Gehry-designed building put the city solidly in the international art network. The Basque regional government, which spearheaded the project, is now trying to limit the fallout. "We must take immediate steps to safeguard the prestige of an institution now in jeopardy," said a political leader.