AN art collector who spent £2 million proving a painting was a genuine masterpiece has told a court he is surviving on his state pension after all his properties were repossessed.
Frank Faryab was answering a summons for non-payment of fines and costs of more than £6,380 first imposed nine years ago for failing to comply with a listed building enforcement notice on one of Malmesbury’s historic houses.
The Manse in Oxford Street was seized from him by bailiffs in September last year along with the Manor House and the Moravian Church.
He told Chippenham magistrates he had been paying by £25 monthly instalments but fell behind after losing his property.
“They took everything I had, that includes my clothing, my personal belongings, everything. I was left with absolutely nothing. Despite that I paid for a couple of months as best I could.”
Faryab, who gave his address as the Chipping, Tetbury, said he was being put up temporarily by friends who were taking care of him because he had nowhere to go. “I have only the income from my state pension.”
He added that he had also developed anxiety problems.
Chairman of the bench David Morell pointed out that paying at £25 a month meant the debt would take around 25 years to pay off.
“We have a difficulty in that we are effectively being asked to enforce what the Crown Court has specified,” he told Faryab. “All we can do is to advise you to ask the Crown Court to reconsider. “ He agreed to set repayment at the minimum rate of £20 a month. “But that means it will take you nearer £30 years to pay it off,” he added.
Faryab made national headlines two years ago when he revealed he had paid out £2 million on experts to prove a picture he had bought in 2005 for a few thousand pounds was a genuine masterpiece by Turner with an estimated value of £4 million.
In April 2005 he was fined £4,000 by Swindon Crown Court after failing to comply with a North Wiltshire District Council enforcement notice to remove dormer windows installed without planning permission on the Manse.
He appealed without success and found himself facing an extra £3,808 in costs.
Concern had been voiced about the increasingly dilapidated state of the buildings in the years before the repossession on September 4.
Earlier this month Wiltshire Council announced it was working with mortgage holders First County Trust to ensure they were restored to an acceptable standard.