Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Stolen Art Watch, Turners Sting, in a Long Tail, Indictments Prevail !!

Prozessauftakt im Frankfurter Kunstraub von 1994

Before the Frankfurt district court must have been today two suspected handlers responsibility. They should in 1994 from the Frankfurt Museum Schirn Leihwerke stolen by William Turner and Caspar David Friedrich's original museums offered for sale.

Nearly 14 years after the spectacular art robbery in Frankfurt's Schirn museum since Wednesday, two alleged handlers in court.

The public prosecutor accused the 60-year-old Joseph S. and the 64-year-old K. Hartmut to launch the process before the District Court of Frankfurt am Main blackmail. They are two of the three stolen pictures of the Tate Gallery in London to buy back and offered five million euro ransom.
Stolen were on the night of 28 July 1994 two works by William Turner with the titles "Shade and Darkness (shadow and darkness)" and "Light and Colour (light and color), which is regarded as loans from the Tate Gallery in the Frankfurt exhibition" Goethe and Art "came , And "fog" by Caspar David Friedrich - this image contributed Hamburger Kunsthalle. The three images had an insured value of a total of 35 million euros.

Four offenders had the alarm system was turned off and then on the freight elevator in the Kunsthalle reached. They overwhelmed a guard, tied him and took him the keys. The three images transported in a small truck.

One of the perpetrators concerted according to the indictment car dealer Joseph S., that he should keep the stolen property. But this had a garage in Frankfurt-Bornheim rented. First sales failed attempts in 1995.

Advocate sued Kunsthalle

In February 1999 the court sentenced two robbers Frankfurt handlers and a. A 31-year-old courier driver received a prison sentence of eleven years and a 29-year-old fruit seller eight years in prison A 33-year-old driver was sentenced to two and a half years for favouring convicted. He had a covert police investigators of the two Turner images for ten million U.S. dollars offered for sale. The perpetrators had their backers not betrayed, and the images were initially disappeared.

Only in the years 2000 and 2002 appeared masterpieces by Turner again. The Frankfurt lawyer Edgar Liebrucks acted as middle-men. The Tate Gallery for the pictures to be five million euros have paid, the lawyer received 320,000 euros commission. In July 2000, "Shade and Darkness" back to London, in December 2002 "Light and Colour".

In January 2003, the Hamburger Kunsthalle the painting "fog" for 1.5 million euro ransom and 250,000 placement fee. Attorney Liebrucks paid the vendors' own figures, 250,000 euros for the picture and gave it in August 2003 to the Hamburger Kunsthalle, which it with the replacement task. Liebrucks sued the Kunsthalle later successfully agreed on payment of 250,000 euros.

According to the indictment had alleged handlers for their business off to Brazil. There they were arrested in February 2007. Josef was on 11 p. October 2007 delivered to Germany, Hartmut K., 23 January this year.

Art Hostage comments:


Follow up:

Sorry for the lack of good grammar but the article above is a direct translation from German.

The story is the two men responsible for returning the Turners have now, after six years, been charged for the offence of blackmail.

This should be a warning to those who seek to return stolen art for reward monies alone.

Previously this Turner case was held up as an example of how stolen art can be ransomed back to the insurers or victims.

Millions of euros was paid and everyone thought the bad guys had won.

However, as with all stolen art that is returned without Police co-operation and involvement, there is always a sting in the tail, be it after one year, or as with this case, six years.

Upon another note, I do wonder if others involved in the Turner recovery may be indicted, or at the very least exposed for their criminal actions ??

The lawyer who facilitated the return of the Turners, Edgar Liebrucks, successfully sued in court last year for the payment of 250,000 euros and seems to have escaped any indictments, at this stage.

Moral of this story is whenever stolen art is returned there will always be a sting in the tail, however long it takes after the initial recovery.

So, anyone negotiating the return of stolen art beware, it's a
"Sting, sting, sting, you morons !!"

When in doubt, leave it out, walk away and live to fight another day.

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