Stolen Van Gogh masterpieces recovered

Stolen Van Gogh masterpieces recovered
Director of Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum Axel Ruger, left, unveils a painting by the Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh during a news conference in Naples on Friday. (Reuters)
Updated 30 September 2016

Stolen Van Gogh masterpieces recovered

Stolen Van Gogh masterpieces recovered

NAPLES: Two Van Gogh masterpieces stolen in Amsterdam 14 years ago have been recoved from the home of a notorious Italian drug boss near Naples, Italian and museum officials announced on Friday.
The 1882 “Seascape at Scheveningen” and 1884/85 “Congregation leaving the Reformed Church at Nuenen” were “recovered during a massive, continuing investigation... conducted by a specialized Italian prosecutions team investigating organized crime,” the Van Gogh Museum said in a statement.
Italian investigators raided a home belonging to infamous drug baron Raffaele Imperiale, who was arrested 10 years ago at the same location at Castellammare di Stabia, some 34 kilometers southeast of Naples, a notorious hotspot for Neapolitan mafia activity.
Imperiale, who belongs to the Amato-Pagana clan, is believed to have subsequently fled, the Neapolitan edition of Italian daily La Republica reported. A new arrest warrant had been issued against him earlier this year, the newspaper added. “The investigation confirms that criminal organizations are interested in art works that are both used as a form of investment as well as a source of funding,” Italian Cultural Minister Dario Franceschini said.
Van Gogh Museum officials said they were overjoyed that the paintings had been recovered.
“The curator who inspected the authenticity and provenance of the works at the request of the Italian Public Prosecutions Department drew a firm conclusion: ‘They are the real paintings!’,” said the museum.