Billionaire’s son sells $676m art collection in divorce settlement

Son of Michael and Annette Sturgess, Bambos Agathangelou, says he wants a quiet life and his ex-wife ‘needs to go spend her money somewhere else’

An art heir to the Bharti family fortune has sold off $676m (£456m) of his father’s art collection in a divorce settlement.

Konstantinos Agathangelou said he wants a life without media attention.

He said his ex-wife, Bambos Agathangelou, “needs to go spend her money somewhere else”. He called her “not honourable”.

According to Agathangelou, 40, his mother-in-law was not present during the divorce, or the judge’s court rulings, and not “honest or truthful”.

“She’s tried to bankrupt me – very, very dishonest, not a responsible person,” he said. “I’m very, very concerned for what she is capable of doing.”

In legal papers filed in New York state supreme court in April, Agathangelou said he and his wife both made substantial contributions to Michael Sturgess’s estate, including valuing the art collection before the deal was made.

Bambos Agathangelou, 40, said in a statement that she was “very disappointed in Mr Agathangelou’s abrupt and outrageous release of the entire art collection that they shared.

“All three children have had wonderful experiences with the artworks that they are inheriting. It is distressing to know that they may never have this experience again,” she said.

She asked the court to protect the assets of the money-losing Metropolitan Museum of Art near Manhattan, where Sturgess died in May.

Agathangelou said that a lawyer for Sturgess was a master at duplicity.

Michael Sturgess died of septic shock at age 79 on 21 May. He was a legendary horseman and businessman who later owned about 3,000 horses, including some of the all-time greats of thoroughbred racing, such as the 1995 Kentucky Derby winner, Charismatic.

The one of the auction lots that attracted lots of controversy. Photograph: Kate Koschak

His interests ranged from horseback riding to modeling, fashion and sports to banking and real estate.

He was the middle child of Gérard and Nayana Sturgess.

In 2009, Michael Sturgess died when his Mediterranean sailing yacht, The Sturgess, struck a powerful storm off the coast of Turkey. He was 92.

Agathangelou said in the interview that his father also had a “very special relationship” with the Met’s collection and wanted to keep its stores. He said he and his parents would leave money to the Met.

Michael Sturgess’s will stipulated that his widow receive everything, including 1,050 acres of land in Connecticut, which were sold in May, the New York Post reported.

“Those lands are really very valuable,” said William Amato, a family friend. “Why would you leave them for Mrs Sturgess to collect for 40 years if you would leave them for the children?

“The years of good life were truly his, but the work is up to the children and grandchildren.”

The Post said Agathangelou sold the land, adding that the deal included an agreement by the Manhattan company Agathangelou acquired in 2008 to pay $80,000 in monthly taxes – the equivalent of New York taxes or New Jersey property taxes – for 50 years.

The Post reported that his father’s will divided the collection between him and his wife.

The Sturgess family took control of the Met in 1983.

Afterward, they gained control of other museums and proceeds from other art sales.

Sturgess’s will stipulated that nothing should be collected until their children turned 19.

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