Japanese fashion retailer Zozo's founder selling valuable paintings, says he has no money

Zozo founder Yusaku Maezawa's ambitions have hit turbulence, with the billionaire only recently returning to Twitter after a series of corporate missteps saw Zozo's stock price plunge by more than half.
Zozo founder Yusaku Maezawa's ambitions have hit turbulence, with the billionaire only recently returning to Twitter after a series of corporate missteps saw Zozo's stock price plunge by more than half.PHOTO: YUSAKU MAEZAWA/INSTAGRAM

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japanese fashion tycoon Yusaku Maezawa said he plans to auction off artworks worth millions of dollars because he has no money.

Mr Maezawa, the founder and chief executive officer of online fashion retailer Zozo , said in a Twitter post on Saturday that he plans to sell several items at a Sotheby's auction in New York on May 16.

The art-loving billionaire attached screenshots of two artworks to the post - an Ed Ruscha painting with an estimate of US$2 million (S$2.7 million) to US$3 million and an Andy Warhol flowers painting with an estimate of US$1.5 million to US$2 million.

In response to a user query if the sale was because he has no money, Mr Maezawa replied in a Twitter post on Sunday (May 5): "Yes, I never have any money because I always spend it." He ended the post with a laughing face emoji.

The publicity-seeking entrepreneur's past spending antics include the US$110 million purchase of a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting and signing up to be the first private passenger taken around the moon by Mr Elon Musk's SpaceX.

Mr Maezawa's ambitions have hit turbulence with the billionaire only recently returning to Twitter after a series of corporate missteps saw Zozo's stock price plunge by more than half and left its cash position weakened.