Police find stolen Cezanne painting in Serbia

Four men arrested over the theft of masterpiece worth more than $100m, stolen from Swiss museum in 2008.

    Serbian special police guarded the masterpiece in a news conference [Reuters]
    Serbian special police guarded the masterpiece in a news conference [Reuters]

    Police in Serbia have recovered a painting by French artist Paul Cezanne that was stolen at gunpoint from a Swiss museum four years ago, officials say.

    Four men, including the leader of the gang that conducted the robbery, have been arrested in the capital, Belgrade, and the town of Cacak.

    Cezanne's Boy in a Red Waistcoat, which media said was worth more than $100m, was one of four paintings stolen from the E G Buehrle Collection in Zurich in 2008 by a trio of masked robbers who burst in just before closing time and told staff to lie on the floor while they took what they wanted.

    A Swiss expert authenticated the oil on canvas painting retrieved by police, hidden in the door panel of a car.

    Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said the police raids, planned since 2010, took place when the suspected robbers decided to take the Cezanne painting to a wealthy Serb who agreed to buy it for $4.6m.

    Dacic said nearly $2m in cash and firearms were found with the four arrested men.

    He said one of the arrested men was the leader of the gang that conducted the robbery, while the three others are believed to be accomplices in the crime.

    "I think this is really an impressive action conducted jointly with Swiss police,'' Miljko Radisavljevic, the special prosecutor for organised crime, said.

    Art experts have suggested the robbers took advantage of low security at the Swiss museum without knowing about the paintings or how difficult it can be to sell such well-known stolen art works.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    The War in October: What Happened in 1973?

    Al Jazeera examines three weeks of war from which both Arabs and Israelis claimed to emerge victorious.