independent

Monday 21 April 2014

International crime ring behind heist of Picasso and Monet paintings worth €18m

A CRIME ring may have been behind the theft of seven paintings, including a Picasso and two Monets and worth €18 million from a Dutch museum last year, a Romanian court has revealed.

Thieves made off with the paintings from Rotterdam's Kunsthal museum in October in a brazen and meticulously planned operation that was one of the biggest such thefts in the Netherlands.

Romanian authorities have detained three men but prosecutors suspect that other people may be involved.

"The three men joined forces with other people ... in stealing seven very valuable paintings," Lucia Zaharia, spokeswoman of Bucharest's district 5 court, said.

Zaharia would not elaborate on the names or nationalities of the other suspects, but said the insurance value of the stolen artworks was around €18m.

The works stolen were Picasso's "Tête d'Arlequin", Matisse's "La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune", Monet's "Waterloo Bridge, London" and "Charing Cross Bridge, London", Gauguin's "Femme devant une fenêtre ouverte", Meyer de Haan's "Autoportrait" and Lucien Freud's "Woman with Eyes Closed".

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