Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Stolen Art Watch, Gardner Art Heist/Whitey Bulger/John Connolly August 2015

Mobster Tied To Boston Art Heist Assails FBI Tactics

Hartford mobster tied to notorious art heist calls FBI tactics "outrageous government misconduct."
The Hartford mobster who the FBI believes might be the last, best hope of recovering half a billion dollars in art stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum says the tactics that authorities are using to force his cooperation amount to "outrageous government misconduct."
Robert "Bobby the Cook" Gentile, who the FBI believes once had two of the stolen paintings and might be able to help unravel the continuing mystery of the missing art, complains in a new court filing that the FBI has twice used informants to induce him to commit crimes only so that agents and prosecutors could use threats of imprisonment to persuade him to talk about the stolen art.

Gentile, who is 79 and in jail, has said repeatedly that he can't tell the authorities anything about the notorious1990 Gardner heist and the missing art, even if he would like to, because he never had any of the stolen art and knows nothing about the robbery or what happened to the missing masterworks.
Gentile attorney A. Ryan McGuigan of Hartford argues in a long-shot attempt to win dismissal of charges related to Gentile's alleged sale of a gun to one of the informants that the FBI is abusing its formidable law enforcement power by contriving crimes solely to advance the investigation of an unrelated crime.
"In the instant case, the Government was not conducting a firearms sting investigation," McGuigan wrote in the motion. "It was not concerned with taking the armorer of the underworld in Connecticut out of commission. As the Government made clear immediately after taking Mr. Gentile into custody by its offer of cooperation in the Gardner Museum investigation, the alleged gun transaction at issue was pretextual."
The U.S. Attorney's office declined to respond.
What is not in Gentile's motion to dismiss is an explanation of why, over the past five years, Gentile has twice taken the bait offered by FBI informants and allegedly committed crimes.

In 2012, he was charged and convicted after he said that a persistent FBI informant persuaded him to illegally sell prescription painkillers. Earlier this year, in the case he is trying to dismiss, Gentile was charged with selling a pistol and ammunition to another informant, an old friend convicted in the killings of three people during a 50-pound marijuana robbery in the 1980s.
McGuigan said Gentile was told that he could avoid prison in both the drug and gun cases if he cooperated with museum investigators. But Gentile has said he has nothing to offer, even after being promised immunity and a chance at collecting the $5 million reward that the museum is offering for return of the art.

Multiple witnesses located by the FBI over decades of investigation have cast doubt on Gentile's claims. They have said that Gentile had possession of at least two paintings or that he implied that he had access to them.
An expert on the Gardner heist, perhaps the world's most baffling art who-done-it, speculates that Gentile either has some knowledge of the robbery or is the "unluckiest man alive."
The most important of the witnesses implicating Gentile is the widow of a Boston mobster who Gentile acknowledges was a friend and associate from the 1980s until the mobster's death in 2004. The widow told Gardner investigators early in 2010 that she was present when her husband handed two of the stolen paintings to Gentile outside a Portland, Maine, hotel between 2002 and 2004.

Gentile, in repeated interviews, said he met the mobster and his wife for lunch or dinner at Portland restaurants several times, but denies being given paintings. Gentile said the widow is "a liar," who implicated him because she was broke in 2010 and trying to get the $5 million reward.
Gentile and his attorney contend that he has been the subject of continual FBI surveillance since his friend's widow put him at the center of the Gardner case. Authorities have said that Gentile is a sworn member of a Boston Mafia crew. Gentile denies that charge, too, saying that he simply cooked and ran card games for gangsters. He said that's how he got his nickname.
Gentile said the FBI told him he would die in prison as a result of the 2012 drug arrest if he didn't help locate the paintings. Instead, he was released after serving 30 months. He faces a far longer sentence if he is convicted of selling a gun and ammunition as a convicted felon to another convicted felon.
Some of the most important art ever created disappeared about 1:30 a.m. on March 18, 1990, as St. Patrick's Day celebrations wound down around Boston. Two men dressed as police officers bluffed their way into the museum, a century-old, Italianate mansion that was full of uninsured art and protected by an outdated security system
Among the missing art: a Vermeer, a Manet and five drawings by Degas. Two of the paintings — "Storm on the Sea of Galilee," Rembrandt's only known seascape, and Vermeer's "The Concert" — could be worth substantially more than $100 million.

$10 Billion Worth Of Stolen / Lost Art Discovered In Mexican Drug Lords House

Eduardo Almanza Morales is a Mexican drug lord of Los Zetas. In March 2009, Almanza Morales was listed as one of Mexico’s top 5 most wanted drug lords. He had been linked to the introduction of illegal drugs into Mexico from Belize and Guatemala on behalf of the Gulf Cartel. Some sources have reported that Eduardo Almanza Morales was killed by Mexican law enforcement during a shootout in December 2009. However, as of 3 March 2013, he was still listed as wanted
Details have been made public today, stating that Morales was captured in Mexico. He was discovered as part of a 2 year joint operation between the DEA and Mexican Fedarales. Morales was found living in a huge mountain side villa, tucked away in the Mexican countryside.
The fact that this drug lord has been arrested is not what is making the news though. What officials found inside his villa have shocked the world. Morales had gathered the most expensive collection of art in history. Whats even more amazing is that ALL of this art and treasures had been stolen.
Officials are amazed that Morales went to all the effort to buy this priceless art collection, only for it to be confiscated by the DEA.
The art world has gone into meltdown with this news, the much awaited press conference will display some works of art that have been missing for over 50 years.
The collection has been valued at around 10 billion dollars. To put that into perspective, the value of the art work discovered could pay for healthcare for every man, woman and child in America for the next 12 years.
Here is a list of some of the more expensive paintings that where discovered :
Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt : Value = $135,000,000
Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael : Value = $130,000,000
The Concert by Johannes Vermeer : Value = $120,000,000
“Charing Cross Bridge, London” (1901) by Claude Monet : Value = $120,000,000
Landscape with an Obelisk by Govert Flinck : Value = $115,000,000
“Waterloo Bridge, London” (1901) by Claude Monet : Value = $115,000,000
The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn : Value = $110,000,000
Poppy Flowers by Vincent van Gogh : Value = $55,000,000
Also discovered :
View of the Sea at Scheveningen by Vincent van Gogh : Value = $30,000,000
Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen by Vincent van Gogh : Value = $30,000,000
View of Auvers-sur-Oise by Paul Czanne : Value = $20,000,000
Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence by Caravaggio : Value = $20,000,000
Le pigeon aux petits pois by Pablo Picasso : Value = $20,000,000
The Just Judges by Jan van Eyck : Value = $20,000,000
In addition to the priceless art works, officials discovered gold and diamonds with a total weight that exceeded 1 metric ton (1000 kilograms). Including crowns, statues made of gold, diamonds as big as apples and a gold plated swimming pool.
70 Million dollars worth of diamonds in this small box.
This crown was stolen from the Vatican in 1974 and is estimated to be worth over $160,000,000 due to its religious significance.
There was even a life sized solid gold statue of Kate Moss…
Morales also had a collection of some of the rarest animals in the world.
The Tibetan Mastiff is one of the most costly dogs that you can take home as a pet. The average price of this particular breed runs to about $582,000. Morales had a pack of 15 Tibetan Mastiff’s, its rumored that he would feed his enemies to the dogs.
White lions come from an extremely rare lion breed and cost between $100,000-$300,000 each. Morales had over 20 different types of “Big Cat” – Also rumored to be a favored way to dispose of the bodies of his enemies.
His bird sanctury housed some of the worlds rarest species. Including Toucan’s, Hyacinth Macaw’s, Palm Cockatoo’s. He even had an albino Golden Eagle which is said to be worth millions.
Oh yeah, they also found over 2 billion dollars in US banknotes.
All that paid for by drug money from American heroin addicts.

Court upholds conviction of ex-FBI agent tied to gangster 'Whitey' Bulger

A Florida appeals court on Wednesday reinstated the 2008 murder conviction of Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger's longtime FBI handler for providing information the gangster used to carry out a 1982 hit.The state's full Third District Court of Appeals reversed its own decision of a year ago, which had found that the former agent, John Connolly, had been wrongly convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the murder of John Callahan, the president of sports betting operation World Jai-Alai.
Bulger's notorious Winter Hill gang had targeted Callahan for death because it wanted to take over the highly profitable operation.
In a 6-4 ruling, the full appeals court found that a three-judge panel had erred last year when it overturned Connolly's conviction for second-degree murder for providing information that Bulger's gang used to carry out Callahan's killing.
The decision hinged on whether a lower court acted properly in allowing a gun charge to be attached to the murder charge, which extended the statue of limitations. The appeals court on Wednesday upheld the lower court's decision.
"Because the reclassification of the defendant's conviction for second-degree murder was based on his personal possession of a firearm during the acts he committed during the commission of the murder ... the reclassification of the second-degree murder was not fundamental error," the majority wrote in its opinion.
Bulger was convicted of crimes including 11 murders he committed or ordered in the 1970s and '80s, including Callahan's. His 2013 trial revealed his corrupt relationship with federal law enforcement officials including Connolly, who turned a blind eye to the Irish-American gangster's crimes in exchange for information they could use against the Italian-American Mafia, then a top FBI target.
Lawyers for Bulger, who is serving two consecutive life terms in prison, argued in federal appeals court on Monday that his conviction should be overturned because he was not given a chance to testify. The judge had blocked Bulger from testifying that he had been granted immunity by a now-dead Justice Department official.
Connolly, a veteran FBI agent who retired in 1990 and has proclaimed his innocence, recruited Bulger as a mob informant. Bulger has denied serving as an informant, insisting that he paid agents for tips but provided none of his own.

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