The Romanian art thieves have been trying negotiate a transfer of their case to Holland but that outcome seems unlikely give the disclosure in a Romanian court today that the Dutch foundation that owned the stolen works has transferred ownership to insurers in exchange for $24m, according to the New York Times:
While Tuesday’s session provided no evidence either way, assertions made by defense lawyers of a secret contract transferring ownership of the artwork to a Lloyd’s of London insurance underwriter indicated that the Triton Foundation, the original owner, had decided to cut its losses.
The change of ownership claim, made before Bucharest’s District 3 Court, adds yet another layer of confusion to a saga in which the defendants have confessed to either stealing, transporting or hiding the artwork but have repeatedly changed their stories about what happened after the pieces were moved by car from Rotterdam to Carcaliu, the remote Romanian village where Mr. Dogaru’s mother lived until her arrest in March.
Update: During the same hearing, the defendant’s lawyer made an explicit bid to have his client moved to the Netherlands in exchange for the works:
“My client has made a 180-degree turn and is now saying: if the Dutch authorities don’t want to take me, nobody will ever see those paintings again,” Dogaru’s lawyer, Catalin Dancu, told reporters in court today. The five artworks are currently abroad and “in the custody” of a Russian, who is trying to sell them, Dancu said.