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New York auctioneer accused of wrongdoing in book sale

Sotheby Parke Bernet knew before it held an auction of rare Hebrew books once presumed destroyed in Germany during the Holocaust that the seller did not own the books, the New York state attorney general has charged. Attorney General Robert Abrams also charged the auctioneer with misleading prospective buyers, Jewish groups, and individuals who protested the sale, and with misleading Mr. Abrams himself with false statements in its catalog and in private conversations.

The attorney general is seeking to nullify the sale, have the buyers reimbursed, and have the books returned to an institution where they would be available to the public.

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