The Cols Rouges were stealing objects from Drouot clients and have been sentenced to jail.

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The porters and auctioneers were based at Hôtel Drouot, the communal saleroom facility used by most Paris auctioneers, when the thefts were committed. 

Jean-Pierre Osenat, president of auctioneer body Le Syndicat National des Maisons de Ventes Volontaires (SYMEV), told ATG: “This regrettable affair, which has done much damage to the auctioneers of Drouot, who are the primary victims and of whom the great majority have never participated in any misappropriation of funds, now belongs in the past.”

He added: “In the end only three auctioneers out of almost 120 have been condemned for negligence. The porters were all replaced several years ago. These practices from another period for which they have been accused are no longer relevant. A page has definitively been turned.”

The sentencing follows a three-week trial in March, bringing to an end an episode that led to wholesale changes in the way the Drouot was run.