French cus­toms seize Pi­casso work barred from Spain ex­port

The China Post - - ARTS -

A Pi­casso worth 25 mil­lion eu­ros (US$27.4 mil­lion) and con­sid­ered a na­tional trea­sure by Span­ish author­i­ties — who had barred it from be­ing ex­ported — has been seized from a boat docked in Cor­sica, French author­i­ties said Tues­day.

An at­tempt to ex­port the paint­ing, “Head of a Young Woman,” to Switzer­land on Thurs­day “drew the at­ten­tion of French of­fi­cials,” the coun­try’s cus­toms author­i­ties said, with of­fi­cers on the French is­land board­ing the ves­sel the next day.

The ship’s cap­tain could only present two doc­u­ments re­gard­ing the work of art, one of which was a May 2015 Span­ish court judg­ment la­bel­ing the paint­ing a work of art and or­der­ing that it not be taken out of the coun­try, French of­fi­cials said in a state­ment.

The paint­ing, which French cus­toms said was val­ued at “more than 25 mil­lion eu­ros,” is owned by Jaime Botin, a well-known Span­ish banker whose fam­ily founded the San­tander bank­ing group.

The 79-year-old, who was for­merly the bank­ing gi­ant’s vice chair­man, was not aboard the ves­sel, which is owned by the bank and fly­ing a Bri­tish flag, a cus­toms au­thor­ity spokesman said.

Ac­cord­ing to the spokesman, the ex­port re­quest was also not in Botin’s name.

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