THE HAGUE, Netherlands:
Police in Romania have uncovered a trove of “irreplaceable” books including first editions of works by Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton that were stolen in a sophisticated 2017 heist from a warehouse in London, police and the European Union’s judicial cooperation agency has said.
The stash of some 200 rare and valuable books was discovered hidden in a concealed space under a house in rural Romania.
London’s Met Police said in a statement that the recovered books have a combined value of more than 2.5 million pounds ($3.2 million).
“These books are extremely valuable, but more importantly they are irreplaceable and are of great importance to international cultural heritage,” Detective Inspector Andy Durham said in a statement.
The books were stolen in a raid on a warehouse in west London. Burglars cut holes in the roof and abseiled down into the building to avoid motion detectors, loaded the books into 16 large bags and clambered back up the ropes to make their getaway through the roof, police said.
A joint investigation involving police from London, Romania and the Carabinieri in Italy, supported by EU agencies Europol and Eurojust in The Hague, identified 11 similar burglaries across Britain, that netted some 2 million pounds worth of stolen property.
The Met Police said a Romanian organized crime gang was responsible.
The probe led to a series of raids in the three countries in June 2019 and the arrest of 13 suspects who were charged in the UK with involvement in the burglaries.
The Met said that 12 suspects have pleaded guilty and will face sentencing hearings starting later this month. The 13th suspect is scheduled to go on trial in March. (AP)
NEW YORK: Macmillan’s longtime CEO, John Sargent, will be leaving at the end of the year, forced out by what parent company Holtzbrinck Publishing Group is calling “a disagreement regarding the direction of Macmillan.”
Macmillan spokesperson Erin Coffey told The Associated Press that Sargent’s departure was the decision of Stefan von Holtzbrinck, CEO of the Holtzbrinck group, which declined to specify the disagreement. Sargent, who joined Macmillan in 1996, declined comment.
“The family shareholders, the supervisory board, my colleagues and I thank John Sargent deeply for making Macmillan a strong and highly successful publishing house and for his most helpful advice,” von Holtzbrinck said in a statement. “John’s principles and exemplary leadership have always been grounded in worthy, essential
causes, be it freedom of speech, the environment, or support for the most vulnerable. Since Holtzbrinck shares these ideals, they will live on.”
Sargent will be replaced by Don Weisberg, currently Macmillan’s president. Macmillan, one of the so-called Big Five in the book business, publishes authors ranging from “Wolf Hall” novelist Hilary Mantel to former FBI Director James Comey.
The 63-year-old Sargent is widely known for his direct and straightforward style, the kind of executive who rarely wore a suit, often answered his own phone and would
stick to a decision once he made it. A decade ago, he was at the heart of an industry battle with Amazon.com, when the online giant removed the “buy” buttons” from Macmillan books because of a dispute over e-book prices. The weeklong standoff led to Amazon’s agreeing to Macmillan rating prices for e-books, sales for which had been quickly rising. Two years later, Macmillan and four other publishers were sued by the Justice Department for alleged price fixing. Macmillan was among those settling out of court.
In 2017, PEN American honored Sargent for “his fierce advocacy for the right to publish and for serving as a defender of publishers’ and authors’ intellectual property rights.” A year later, Sargent insisted on publishing Michael Wolff’s scathing take on President Donald Trump, “Fire and Fury,” even as he faced legal threats from the Trump administration. Macmillan has been in the news often in 2020, not always to its liking. Jeanine Cummin’s millionselling novel “American Dirt” was criticized for stereotypical portraits of Mexicans, and Macmillan has battled with librarians over e-book rates. (AP)
In this Feb.7, 2011 file photo, actor Michael Lonsdale poses after receiving a Crystal Globe award of best actor during the Crystal Globes awards ceremony, in Paris. (AP)