Wednesday, 1 November 2017

entrêpot

On the return leg of a recent trip, Jason Kottke was treated to a windshield tour of Geneva (Genf) and introduced to the city’s Freeport that is located at an private airfield annex off the main commercial runway.
The notion having a place to store goods not subject to taxation is an old one (examples here and here) but until recent times such warehousing was reserved for staples destined for the market and imminent resale and not as a tax-haven for the perversely wealthy to speculate and horde treasures until it becomes favourable again to trade amongst themselves. There’s a short documentary and more information at the link up top. Discretion being amongst the chief enticements of the Swiss facility (there are others, of course, and probably this idea of creating exclaves beholden to no tax jurisdiction will spread), no one can say for certain what all is stored in the Freeport but there seems to be agreement that were it a museum, it would be amongst the largest. As if frustrating the art world by making so many priceless works inaccessible (plus some looted patrimony) weren’t criminal enough, the building is neighbouring the old army barracks where political refugees are housed when they first arrive in Switzerland—sheltering next to the place where the despots and their associates they fled hide their fortunes.