As already explained RK emailed michael franses in February 2014 using the fictitious name ‘Gunter Raps’(G.R.).
Posing as an interested buyer we sent franses the email below.
It was the first of a number ‘Gunter’ sent to franses; and franses always replied, often in far more depth than expected.
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 6:17 PM
Subject: Early Village Rugs
Hello Mr Franses:
I have heard alot about you and think now is the time for
me to email you to hopefully begin acquiring some
exemplary rugs from you.
My collecting interests have now become focused on
Anatolian and Caucasian Village rugs produced
in the early 19th entury and before.
I realize these are
hard to find items but knowing your extensive experience
and contacts I believe you might be the only person
capable of offerning me what I seek.
Please do contact me at your convenience at my email
address and if possible might I ask to see some photographs
As we expected franses took the bait hook, line and sinker, and here is his first email to Gunter.
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 11:25 AM
From: "Michael Franses" mdafranses@xxxx
Subject: RE: Gunter Raps: Early Village Rugs
“Dear Mr Raps,
Thank you for your e-mail. I retired completely from business four years ago now and presently working for the Qatar Museums Authority.
As part of my contract I can no longer deal, buy and sell rugs.
This job in Qatar is very exciting as it is allowing me to complete hopefully two important books on carpets.
I can tell you more about these if we meet. I plan to be in Munich later in the Spring although I will be with colleagues from the Qatar Museums Authority and will be able to not talk about my private collection.
I will not offer and have not offered any items from my private collection to the Qatar Museums Authority as it would be seen as a conflict of interest. Thus I have used colleagues and friends to sell one or two carpets each year from our collection. This has helped to supplement our pension. The two colleague that I trust most are John Eskenazi and Detlef Maltzhan.
I am not allowed to sell my collection myself as I am a resident in Qatar.
If you wish I could ask my senior researcher Rupert Waterhouse in London to prepare a keynote and send it onto me. I could then check this and have it sent onto you as a PDF. If you are then interested in any of the carpets I could ask either John or Detlef to offer them to you.
I have very probably about 15 early Anatolian rugs still in my collection…..
There are a few others that are quite costly and I could offer you later.
I have no Caucasian rugs…
I am sorry that I cannot offer you things directly. However, these colleagues have agreed rot(sic) do this for me for very low commissions. I will not sell any of my collection through auction. A number of dealers have asked for examples and I have not wanted to get involved.
I hope you will treat this matter with absolute discretion.
With kind regards,
As readers can see franses has a rather strange interpretation of the ban his employment in Doha has placed upon him.
If franses is contractually prevented to “deal, buy and sell” rugs how can he justify offering his pieces to Gunter?
Does having a straw-man like Eskenazi or maltzahn fronting for him change things?
RK knows it absolutely doesn't.
This charade is nonsense and one more example of the lack of honesty and transparency with which michael franses conducts his business and his life.
And why does franses mention the "conflict of interest" offering his rugs to the Doha Museum would be and then turn a blind eye to the equally serious violation continuing to sell his rugs creates?
The simple reason is franses only adheres to his word when it is in his best interests and when not, as is the case here with offering his rugs to 'Gunter', franses is very willing to disregard and violate his contractual obligations and dishonor his word.
As for his “hope” Gunter would “treat this matter with absolute discretion”?
All RK can say is 'Gunter' never affirmed to franses that he would, nor did franses think to ask/request it before breaching such a subject.
So instead of "hoping" a stranger would protect his information franses should never have divulged what he felt deserved, or needed, to be protected.
Obviously franses just went on and on blabbing far too much to try and to ingratiate himself to 'Gunter'.
All this was, of course, to an end: To do some profitable business with him.
It is also obvious franses willingly spewed out so much information, and continued to do so, solely to try and impress ‘Gunter’ that he was the most important dealer in the rug game, regardless of the prohibitions his employment in Doha imposed or his phony well publicized self-proclaimed "retirement" from rug dealing.
This is but the first of the emails we received.
Stay tuned for more…