Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Stolen Art Watch, French Art Heist Trial

3:30 After a deliberate, the court went below the requisitions of the Advocate General (3 to 15 years in prison)

The five men who recognized the flight in August 2007 four old master paintings
the Museum of Fine Arts in Nice were sentenced by the Assize Court
Bouches-du-Rhône to terms ranging from two to nine years in prison.

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Fifth and final day of trial verdict: Two to nine years in prison:

The five men who recognized the flight in August 2007 four old master paintings
the Museum of Fine Arts in Nice were sentenced by the Assize Court
Bouches-du-Rhône to terms ranging from two to nine years in prison.
3:30 After a deliberate, the court, presided by Jean-Luc Tournier, went below the requisitions of the General Counsel, Marc taste, which had required three to fifteen years in prison.

Pierre-Noël Dumarais, 64, described as the organizer of the operation, was sentenced to the maximum sentence.
His "co-pilot", 59, Patrick Chelelekian, was given a sentence of eight years imprisonment. He is alleged to have triggered the case by order status of tables by U.S. buyers, which he had heard from an acquaintance, Bernard Ternus, currently detained in Miami.
Their accomplices, who appeared free, were sentenced to four years in prison for Lionel Ritter, described as "the perfect henchman" to three years to Patrice Lhomme, "at the forefront of the negotiations," according to the General Counsel , and two years for Moullec Gregory, the only one not to return to detention.

Monday to trial for armed robbery by organized gangs and criminal conspiracy, the defendants acknowledged at the hearing, having stolen Sunday, Aug. 5, 2007 1:02 p.m. to Bruegel, a Monet and a Sisley Jules Cheret museum, while denying being armed, unlike the testimony of employees.

Fourth day of the trial: 3 to 15 years in prison required:

Sentences ranging from three to fifteen years in prison were required.

Against Pierre-Noël Dumarais, 64, the man who organized the operation, the General Counsel Marc Gouton demanded the maximum sentence.
Against his "co-pilot", 59, Patrick Chelelekian he asked twelve years in prison, accusing him of having caused the case reports of unecommande of paintings by American buyers, which he had heard from an acquaintance, Bernard Ternus, currently detained in Miami.

Three to eight years in prison were required against their accomplices: Patrice Lhomme, "at the forefront of the negotiations," Ritter Lionel, described as "the perfect henchman", and Gregory Moullec, "the last wheel of the coach ".


Third day of the trial: a hunt worthy of Hollywood:
Undercover agents, FBI, fake drug traffickers, go on a yacht in Miami with girls in bikinis ... Investigators have released all the stops to track down and bring down the perpetrators of the theft of paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts in Nice August 5, 2007, according to their story sitting at Aix.
If the French police had been on the trail of a conspiracy is an FBI intelligence that has truly advance the investigations beginning in January 2008.
"A thief offered them four tables that could correspond to the tables Chéret Museum" at the bar tells Lt. Catherine yellowish at the time the group leader at the Central Office for fight against trafficking in cultural property (OCBC) who coordinated the investigation.
The contact was established by the American agent Robert Wittman ("Bob") as part of an operation to recover stolen works of Gardner Museum in Boston in March 1990, including a Vermeer and Rembrandt.
To set the terms of the transaction, appointment is made ​​in Barcelona in January 2008 between the robbers and false buyers, namely "Bob" and agents of Miami playing the role of Colombian narco-traffickers.
"We go to a luxury hotel, we rented a suite, I met Bob, who was accompanied by the Colombians, two in the face sinister, like Scarface," he told one of the accused, Patrick Chelelekian.
"They put me in front of the air, I later learned that a camera was hidden there," he said, before launching: "Every day, I'm working, it is indigestible, j can 't understand how I could be led by the nose from beginning to end. "
From this date, "all picked up," says Ms. Yellowish. One of the accomplices Chelelekian, Patrice Lhomme, hand in Miami in April of that year to meet again the false buyers.

An interview on a yacht with girls in bikinis, "which raises many fantasies," joked the president of the court, Jean-Luc Tournier, in reference to the Hollywood version of the case book that Robert Wittman in "Priceless" ( published in April 2011 Sonatine Editions).
Faced with criminals "extremely cautious" - "they made ​​several rounds of the roundabout to be sure of not being followed, stopped at an intersection unexpectedly, gave themselves go to the parking" - the OCBC is "a French request for infiltration."
This engages the agent "Bernie" who, posing as the Swiss financial Colombians, sets the decisive meeting of 4 June 2008 on the Corniche in Marseille
where the protagonists will be stopped and retrieved the file Bruegel, Monet and Sisley stolen in Nice.
Marc Ferrarone, Deputy Service interdepartmental technical assistance (SIAT) authorized to make such missions, took up the side "extremely professional" of the accused, far from the image of non-violent fans they are trying to return from the start of the trial.
Asked about the presence on it of a grenade and a gun the day of his arrest, Pierre-Noël Dumarais, presented as the gang leader, was justified: "I 'd go with narco- Colombian traffickers, they do not have a reputation for being soft! The pomegranate is a deterrent, little atomic bomb to me. "

Second day of the trial: Safety of the Museum of Fine Arts in question:
An investigator has expressed his surprise to the faults of the security of the Museum of Fine Arts in Nice. "It was fairly surprised by the lack of supervision", or alarm or camera inside, "and the limited number of staff" for a museum of this size, said at the helm Daniel Schuler, Police Commander the CSI of Nice, in charge of the spot investigation.
"The paintings were hung on the wall in a rudimentary way," he added, noting "a mismatch between the means employed and the value of the tables".

In this museum located in the hills above Nice, it took less than five minutes to robbers to steal, August 5, 2007, two oil on canvas signed Jan Bruegel, "Allegory of Water" and "Allegory of Earth" properties in the city of Nice, and two works from the Musée d'Orsay, "Cliffs near Dieppe" by Claude Monet and "Alley of Poplars at Moret" by Alfred Sisley.
"Surprisingly," the policeman, the last two paintings were not subject to any scrutiny, as they had been stolen in September 1998, in the same premises. To these facts, the then Conservative had been sentenced.
That having heard of this case that Pierre-Noël Dumarais, the organizer of the operation, had set his sights on the tables in particular.

For employees, the investigations revealed a dilettante atmosphere: one of the guards "smoked the carpet" in the words of an accused knowledgeable, and "was accustomed to be delivered personal consumption at the Museum" another had called in sick for "spending the day at pool."
"The staff was not very successful," summarized the President of the Assize Court, Jean-Luc Tournier.

For Me Adrien Verrier, lawyer for the city of Nice has a civil party, "the museum met the safety standards in force", even if the device "has been considerably improved since."
Trial for armed robbery by organized gangs and criminal conspiracy, the five defendants are liable to 30 years in prison to life imprisonment.

First day of the trial: Defendants say they have been manipulated by the FBI:

The authors of the theft of four paintings by the master at the Museum of Fine Arts in Nice in August 2007, held the first day of their trial in Aix-en-Provence, to return the image of non-violent criminals, fallen into a trap the FBI.

Behind the glass of the dock, Pierre-Noël Dumarais, 64, organizer of the operation, immediately sought to minimize his criminal record, heavy eight convictions between 1971 and 1994. "He has 20 years, the criminal, it is almost obsolete,"
smiled the sixties, called "The Nice", groomed and graying hair.
"Opportunistic, but quite right, respectful of human life," he says of himself, when the President of the Assize Court of the Bouches-du-Rhône, Jean-Luc Tournier, asks him to describe.
"That's why I wanted to prepare myself theft of Nice, to avoid collateral damage," said he. Like his accomplices, he denies being armed, despite statements by Jules Cheret museum staff.
"The Nice", holds a degree in law obtained in custody, has not worked in his life (just over one year), preferring to "pick up the tickets in the trees," but "without violence and without a weapon" , he insists, seemingly forgotten in passing the robbery of a bank.
"I was so little armed the bank was not a civil party," he replies to the president, "have a weapon, it is not necessarily use it."
And conclude with aplomb: "I would not be here if I had not been spurred on by the FBI to steal the paintings" in the Sunday, August 5: Two Bruegel, a Monet and Sisley, estimated at 20 million euros.
A view shared by his partner, Patrick Chelelekian, also called "The Armenian" met "on golf ball and Sanary Bandol" (Var).
Time hairdresser for women, then manager of a hotel near Paris, this 59 year old man, imprisoned in Toulon, had been involved before the fact in cases involving narcotics. Former "cocaine addict", he describes himself as "non violent" with "horror of blood and brutality," and said "sorry for being caught up" in this venture, says investigator personality.

To his lawyer, Lionel Moroni, "the flight was caused inadvertently by the FBI" which launched the bids to try to recover stolen works of Gardner Museum in Boston in March 1990, including a Vermeer and Rembrandt.
At the heart of the matter, the famous American agent Robert Wittman, specializing in the trafficking of art, which delivers a fictionalized account of the case in "Priceless" (published in April 2011 Sonatine Editions), a pad of 400 pages who exposed himself Monday on tables in the courtroom. He was summoned by Mr. Moroni, but is unlikely to be heard.
Another notable absentee, the man who put him in touch with the French criminals FBI undercover agent to monetize the tables: Bernard Ternus, from Bandol and based in Miami since 2007.
It was during the final transaction, the five thieves will be arrested and works recovered, 4 June 2008 in Marseille and its region, shortly before the arrest of Ternus Florida.
Sentenced in September 2008 in the United States five years and two months in prison for his participation in the negotiation, it is held in Miami. Prosecuted for complicity in the theft and criminal conspiracy, it is not present at trial, his case is the subject of an order of severance.

The three other defendants, Patrice Lhomme, 46, Moullec Gregory, 41, and Lionel Ritter, 39, who appear free, are presented as "simple handlers."

Background:

Behind the glass of the dock, Pierre-Noël Dumarais, 64, and Patrick Chelelekian, 59, presented as the organizers of the operation. Their accomplices, Patrice Lhomme, 46, Moullec Gregory, 41, and Lionel Ritter, 39, appear free.

On Sunday, August 5, to 13 hours, the five men come to the museum entrance Jules Cheret, neutralize the guards and go with four priceless paintings: two oil on wood signed Jan Bruegel, Bruegel says "Velvet "(1568-1625)," Allegory of Water "and" Allegory of Earth ", property of the city of Nice, and two paintings from the Musée d'Orsay," Cliffs near Dieppe "by Claude Monet ( 1840-1926), and "Avenue of Poplars at Moret" by Alfred Sisley (1839-1899).
In all, the operation of the robbers, carried with ease, is complete in five minutes.

At the beginning of the case, sixth man, Bernard Ternus, from Bandol (Var) and moved to Miami since 2007. It was he who reported that U.S. buyers were interested in old master paintings.
In fact, it was the FBI - including the famous agent Robert Wittman to book an account of the affair in "Priceless" (published in April 2011 Sonatine Editions) - and trying to recover stolen works to the museum Gardner Boston in March 1990, including a Vermeer and Rembrandt.

Once the paintings stolen from Nice, Ternus intervenes to sell at a price of three million euros. It was during the final transaction that his accomplices were arrested and recovered the paintings, 4 June 2008 in Marseille and its region. Ternus was arrested in the wake of Florida.
Sentenced in September 2008 in the United States five years and two months in prison for his participation in the negotiation, he is currently detained at the prison in Miami and is not present in Aix-en-Provence.

Prosecuted for complicity in the theft and criminal conspiracy, his case is subject to an order of severance.
Verdict expected Friday.

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