Tuesday 17 September 2013

Update: Kunsthal loot and blue suede shoes

By way of latest news in relation to the saga of the paintings stolen from the Kunsthal gallery (reported here, here and here), where the lawyers for the accused had said that the paintings had not been destroyed and could be returned, now they have said that the accused thieves will not reveal where the works have been hidden following the refusal by the Romanian court of a request for the case to be tried in the Netherlands.

Bloomberg reports that at a pretrial hearing in Bucharest for the trial of Radu Dogaru, the alleged ringleader, his lawyer said that 'his client was trying to avoid a more-stringent sentence in his homeland by offering to return the five under his "control" in exchange for being transferred to Holland and, if convicted, serving his time there'.

Don't you criticise my shoes
Before the court could deal with this issue, however, there was apparently several hours of debate as to what it should do about the shoes of one of the lawyers for the accused. The man in question had reportedly made the sartorial decision to wear blue suede sneakers with florescent green stripes to court, which, understandably, enraged the judge. Ignoring the lawyer's protestations that the shoes were expensive and highly fashionable, and that the judge was clearly biased and should be replaced, the judge declined to replace himself and fined the lawyer 5,000 lei ($1,488).

Meanwhile, the Dutch foundation that managed the stolen pieces, seemingly despaired by the on-going saga, has given up on ever recovering the paintings, recovering €17 million from its insurers, and accordingly surrendering its ownership rights to the paintings.

Sources: Bloomberg, 10 September 2013, The New York Times, 10 September 2013

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