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The Hermitage’s next 10 years
Saddam’s secret hoard of Jewish manuscripts
New York design sales, collectors show the trends ahead
World Bank’s $160 million loan to St Petersburg
Christie’s denies wrongdoing in Nazi loot claim
Roman athlete under-performs but demand is strong
British Museum buys Iraq “most wanted” cards
Concorde flies in the salesrooms
EU shelve changes to hallmarks
Class action specialists return

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Whitney’s “vigorous” self-audit
The move follows the arrest of two employees charged with a $1 million theft

The Whitney Museum’s new chief financial officer is conducting “a vigorous review of all financial controls to ensure that the highest standards of accountability are met”. Bridget Elias was appointed in June, and her audit follows the arrest of two Whitney employees in late July, charged with embezzling nearly $1 million since January 2002.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office says Nafeem Wahlah (29), manager of visitor services, had voided $850,000 worth of ticket sales, falsified reports, and pocketed the cash, $800,000 of which was recovered neatly stacked in a safe in her Brooklyn home. Her assistant Rowan Foley (24) took $30,000 directly from the cash registers, none of which was recovered. According to a spokesman, the museum is insured for the losses. The spokesman also stresses that the museum will have a balanced budget for the year and is to revise attendance figures to include around 90,000 admissions voided by the embezzlers.

Mr Foley blew the whistle on his boss, but continued to steal money himself, unaware that the museum had called in private investigators who set up hidden cameras that captured the perpetrators in the act.

Both defendants were charged with third-degree grand larceny, punishable by up to seven years in jail, and Ms Wahlah charged also with second-degree grand larceny, punishable by up to 15 years. Ms Wahlah posted bail and was released in early August, but Mr Foley remains in custody awaiting trial.


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