Friday, November 7, 2008

Warehouses, Antiquities and Basel

There has been much attention given to the raids on the warehouses belonging to Giacomo Medici in the Geneva Freeport. But these were not the only storage facilities in Switzerland to be raided.

Premises associated with Gianfranco Becchina were raided in May 2002. Some 5000 objects were reportedly recovered from three warehouses. A fourth warehouse in Basel was raided in September 2005. Some 10,000 photographs were recovered as well as some 200 "bundles of receipts" (Kazuki Matsuura, "Records tie Japan to art theft; Italian prosecutors discover link to Japanese antique dealer", The Daily Yomiuri (Tokyo) January 16, 2007).

Papers from these raids have been mentioned in the Rome trial of Marion True and Robert Hecht (Elisabetta Povoledo, "Photographs of Getty Griffins in Car Trunk Shown at Rome Trial",
The New York Times June 1, 2006):
In trial testimony Giuseppe Putrino, an officer with the art theft squad, described documents recovered in a raid last summer on the offices of Palladion Ancient and Fine Art in Basel, Switzerland, run by Ursula Becchina, the wife of the Sicilian antiquities dealer Gianfranco Becchina.

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