Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Friday, January 25, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Saudi Dr No Waleed, Russian Dr No Semion Mogilevich, U.S. Dr No Sumner Redstone, French Dr No Jean Messier, Four Dr No Musketeers

Suspect: Saudi Collector Wanted Art

By ALAN CLENDENNING – 4 hours ago

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — A suspect in last month's brazen theft of two paintings by Pablo Picasso and Candido Portinari told detectives the paintings were to be delivered to a Saudi collector, authorities said Friday.

Picasso's "Portrait of Suzanne Bloch" and "O Lavrador de Cafe" by Portinari, an influential Brazilian artist, were stolen Dec. 20 from the Sao Paulo Museum of Art by three men who used a crowbar and car jack to force open one of the museum's steel doors.

The framed paintings were found Jan 8., covered in plastic and leaning against a wall in a house on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, South America's largest city.

The suspect, Moises Manoel de Lima Sobrinho, who briefly hosted a cooking show on a local TV channel, provided the information after he turned himself in Thursday, but a public safety department spokeswoman said she did not know whether Lima Sobrinho named the Saudi collector. She declined to be identified in keeping with department policy.

Police have also said that Lima Sobrinho could provide information needed to catch those who ordered the theft.

Two other suspects are in custody, one of them an escaped convict. Still at large are the owner of the house where the paintings were found and the person or persons who ordered the heist.

Art experts estimate the value of the Picasso at about $50 million and the Portinari at $5 million to $6 million.

Associated Press Writer Stan Lehman contributed to this report.

Art Hostage comments:

Memo to FBI Icon Robert Wittman

Bob, finish your dinner, Prince Waleed has some of the Gardner art, as I told you a year ago, and is ripe for a deal, to make the Brazil Picasso thing go away.

Get in quick before Prince Waleed contacts President Bush Senior for help, via Prince Bander, old family friend and all that.

Sorry Mrs Wittman, this is the third time Bob has had to leave his dinner.

Once you have recovered some of the Gardner art from Prince Waleed, you then hop over to Russia, Moscow and recover the Rubens, Tarquin and Lucretia, from Semion Mogilevich, Semi will give this as a sweetener, then hand over what pieces he has from the Gardner Museum.

This just leaves Jean-Marie Messier and our dear friend Sumner Redstone, Hollywood's Dr No, playing opposite Steven Spielberg's Dr Yes.

Bob, you might come across some stolen large diamonds, from Paris that Semion has in a bank as well as other high value stolen diamonds from Harry Winston etc.

Blimey Bob, you are clocking up the air miles and your carbon footprint is like that of Bigfoot !!

The rise of FBI Agent Robert Wittman to Iconic status has only been possible due to the support of Mrs Wittman, who is left with many an unfinished dinner.

Saudi Dr No

The Saudi Dr No in the frame for the Brazil Picasso theft is none other than Prince Waleed, full name, Prince Al-Walid bin Talal bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, who Art Hostage revealed last year as being in possession of some of the stolen art from the Gardner Museum in Boston.

See backstory below:

Art Hostage has much more to add, as you can imagine, but is tired today as the M.A. Graduation has taken its toll.

Not to miss the story about dear old Semion Mogilevich getting arrested in Moscow, now this should lead directly to the recovery of the Stolen Rubens held by Semi, as well as many other stolen artworks, held as bargaining chips.

Much more to come over the weekend !!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Vermeer for Visa, Warrant Disappears !!

Family fights father's extradition to Ireland

Eileen Grady Byrne has a simple task each and every day. That is to hang on to her husband. Joe Byrne is anything but footloose. Nobody wants his wife to be successful in her mission more than he.

But even together, the Rockland County couple must daily face the reality that their future, and that of their five-year-old daughter Mairead, could be decided by entities that take little account of love and fidelity.

Byrne, a native of County Louth, is facing an extradition warrant filed with the U.S. State Department by the office of Ireland's Director of Public Prosecutions.

He is wanted back in Ireland for alleged involvement in two robberies more than a decade ago.

Byrne has been fighting the extradition warrant in court but last fall lost a decision in a White Plains courtroom.

His extradition to Ireland was set to take place on or before January, 29 but in recent days the Byrnes were granted a reprieve, thought just a temporary one.

The Department of State agreed to extend put off extradition until at least February 29, this because he would have been allowed sixty days to appeal after November 29, the date the unfavorable court ruling was handed down.

Byrne was not, however, informed of that ruling until some weeks later.

The extension buys time for the family but brings with it no guarantee of relief from the warrant.

In the meantime, Eileen Byrne is organizing a petition by mail and is attempting to bring her husband's case to the attention of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Byrne's troubles with the Irish legal authorities are rooted in a house burglary and the robbery of a pub in Dundalk, County Louth during which the daughter of the owner was tied up.

Joe Byrne was working in the pub at the time as a part time barman. He was also employed by a local contractor, a man the Byrne family believes had ties to the Irish National Liberation Army.

Byrne was questioned by Gardai after the robberies and made statements he now says were coerced. Either way, he was released without charge. There the matter rested - for ten years.

Eileen attests that her husband was intimidated by the man with alleged INLA connections but is absolutely not guilty of wrongdoing in either incident.

"There was coercion but at the same time there are no witnesses and there is evidence against my husband," she said this week from the family's Pearl River home.

A few years after the robberies, Byrne moved to the U.S. He and Eileen were married and Byrne applied for a green card.

On the advice of an attorney, Byrne admitted to U.S. immigration authorities that he had been questioned by Irish police in connection with the burglary and pub robbery.

The immigration authorities did not see this as an impediment and Byrne was granted legal U.S. residence.

Byrne began his own contracting business and both he and his wife quickly settled into a life rearing their young daughter. Byrne was able to renew his Irish passport without difficulty.

Then the extradition warrant landed in the family's life like a bolt from the blue.

"Joe would have gone back voluntarily if he had been asked to," said Eileen.

One of those asking could well have been his father. Joe Byrne's dad, as it happens, is a retired Garda Sergeant.

"They could have asked Joe's father to get his son back but they came after him with the extradition warrant. They never pursued him for ten years so why now and why this way?" Eileen stated.

She said that the family and their growing number of supporters were of the view that the warrant was served on the basis of incorrect information supplied to the DPP's office.

Joe Byrne is now eligible for U.S. citizenship, but the path to a full American life lately appears a winding one to say the least.

"Joe's the breadwinner. I'm on disability since being hit by a truck a couple of years ago," said Eileen.

The extradition warrant, a legal 18-wheeler, is hitting her afresh every day.

But Eileen is nothing if not determined. She has enlisted the support of family, friends, neighbors, the Ancient Order of Hibernians and Congressman Eliot Engel, a co-chair of the congressional Ad Hoc Committee for Irish affairs and a man who is no stranger to extradition and deportation cases involving Irish citizens.

"We want an opportunity to take our case to the State Department in Washington, D.C. We want Secretary Rice to be made aware of Joe's case. We're real people with real lives, not just names on paper," said Eileen.

"My husband is a good man. He works hard and pays his taxes. He has his rights under the United States Constitution. He is not a fugitive. His daughter needs her father, here," she said.

This story appeared in the issue of January 16-22, 2008

Art Hostage comments:

If Mr Joe Byrne, via his Lawyers, asks the FBI, namely FBI Agent Robert Wittman, what they want, he will be told.

"Assistance in recovering the stolen art from the Gardner Museum in Boston, without arrests, and via a confession box."
Subsequently, if Mr Byrne can help then this warrant will go away as fast as it appeared.

Personally, I think the Feds should have "just asked" politely, rather than use this bogus warrant as leverage for ulterior political motives requested by the Irish/Brit authorities.

"Enough already" with the Black operations to demonise Irish Republicans with left wing socialist aspirations.

It wasn't long ago Sinn Fein shared those Socialist principles and were lured by the power of capitalism and the junket into the mainstream.

So, would it be that dangerous to give liberal socialist Irish Republicans a platform, a pathway taken already by Sinn Fein, with dramatic results, Power sharing, Peace, a model for future Conflict Resolution.

Anyway, whatever the political motives, if Joe Byrne can offer any help that leads to the Vermeer being discovered in a Confession Box, then the U.S. Govt desire to help the Irish/Brit authorities in this case would disappear in an instance, with the FBI fighting for Mr Byrne, rather than against him.

On a much brighter note, and something to give the Byrne family hope, please read the link below for the wonderful humane story about Malachy McAllister:

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Whitey Bulger With Gardner Art, Takes Refuge in Catholic Confession Box Stand-off, Until FBI Icon Robert Wittman Arrives !!

Whitey Bulger has taken refuge in a Catholic Church Confession box surrounded by the stolen Gardner art from Boston.

Having taken his confession, which has lasted for three weeks, Whitey Bulger is contemplating his future as this stand off develops.

Spare a thought for Mrs Wittman, this is the second time Bob has not finished his dinner.

So, Bob, off you go to collect the Gardner art and Collar Whitey Bulger.

Vermeer Recovery alert, more to follow !!

Stolen Art Watch, FBI Icon Bob Wittman Recovers Brazil Picasso !!

Brazil police hunt £28m art theft mastermind

Tom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro

Wednesday January 9, 2008
Guardian Unlimited,,2237888,00.html

Police in Brazil were today hunting the mastermind behind the theft of two paintings, including one by Picasso, from South America's most prestigious art gallery after the pictures were found.
The paintings - the other of which is by the Brazilian artist Candido Portinari - are worth a combined £28m and were recovered from a house in Ferraz de Vasconcelos, Greater Sao Paulo, yesterday. They were stolen in December.

Heavily-armed officers from Sao Paulo's organized crime squad made two arrests.

Few details of the police operation have been released, although reports in the Brazilian press suggested a third suspect had led them to the safe house, where the paintings were found wrapped in plastic covers in a bedroom.
Museum directors said the pictures had not been damaged.

Brazilian authorities, including the culture minister, Gilberto Gil, said they believed the raid could have been commissioned by art thieves from overseas.

"Thefts like this were probably not carried out by Brazilians," Gil said. "They must be linked to international gangs."

At a press conference yesterday, at which the recovered paintings were paraded before the cameras, police chief Mauricio Freire said: "Evidently they [the two suspects] did not commit this crime for themselves, and the next step is the find the person who ordered the paintings."

According to the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper, the rescue followed several attempts to extort money from Sao Paulo's Art Museum, known as Masp.

Today, the newspaper reported that the gallery's president, Julio Neves, had received a letter demanding $10m in exchange for the paintings on January 3.

It was reported that a further three phone calls had been made to the gallery, demanding smaller sums, although police are said to have considered these to be hoaxes.

In December, Brazil's art world was stunned when a gang of masked men launched a three-minute raid on Masp, making off with Picassso's 1904 Portrait of Suzanne Bloch and Portinari's 1939 painting The Coffee Worker.

When police arrived at the scene, they found a hydraulic jack, a crowbar and an earpiece they believed could have been used to communicate with other criminals waiting outside the museum.

The burglary was a major embarrassment to the museum, casting the spotlight on a deficient security system and the fact that many of the paintings on show were not insured.

The gallery has remained shut since the lightning raid on December 20. It is now expected to reopen on Friday with the two paintings restored to their positions.

Art Hostage comments:

Nice work Bob, now get over to Ireland and meet with Father Paddy Ryan to secure the return of the Boston Vermeer, via a confession box.

Currently Father Paddy Ryan is trying to negotiate a ceasefire between the feuding gangs of Limerick.

Feuding gangs look for republican priest's help

By Barry Duggan
Wednesday January 09 2008

SOME of the country's most dangerous criminals have held secret talks with controversial republican priest Fr Paddy Ryan in a bid to bring an end to the country's most notorious gangland feud.

The Irish Independent has learned that members of opposing Limerick crime gangs have been in contact with Fr Ryan, who came to public notice in the late 1980s when the British government unsuccessfully tried to have him extradited from Ireland to face charges in connection with serious explosive offences.

Limerick's gangland feud has claimed the lives of nine men. There have been at least three other gangland killings carried out by the city's criminals.

It is understood that Fr Ryan, who is living in the Dublin region, was contacted at the turn of the year by members from both sides of the feud.

An informed source said: "He has been approached by some of the crime families to act as a go-between to end the feud.

"These are young men who are serving long prison terms and their families see no future in continuing the feuds."

The Dundon-McCarthy gang, with the support of the Ryan family, are locked in a dispute with the Keane and Collopy gangs for control of the region's lucrative drugs trade since the turn of the millennium.

On Monday night, the home of murdered crime boss Kieran Keane was attacked by a gunman. His widow Sophie and teenage son escaped unhurt.

Separately, members of the Collopy gang who were recently released from prison have fled Limerick for Spain. It is unknown how long they intend to stay there.

Senior gardai were not aware of any communications with Fr Ryan by the criminals.

Officers who have closely investigated the activities of Limerick's criminals are treating any movements towards peace talks sceptically.

"If you look at the people involved, there has been a lot of bloodshed. It is extremely personal for some of these people and this is the only life they know. A whole generation is growing up here knowing nothing only the feud and criminal life," a garda source said.

- Barry Duggan

Art Hostage 9th Jan 2008

Because of the incestuous nature of Irish politics and the Underworld, a ceasefire will lead to the Gardner art being ready to be recovered, via a Catholic church confession box for every one's safety.

These are the words, below, needed.

"Forgive me Father Ryan for I have sinned, please accept the stolen Gardner art and claim the reward on my behalf"

P.S. Does anyone else think the Picasso portrait of Suzanne Bloch looks like Elvis Presley's mother, distinct Lip curl ???????