16 Nov 2005

The Swiss don’t fool around

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Swiss authorities have impounded 54 extremely valuable paintings loaned by Russia’s Pushkin Museum to an exhibition at the Fondation Pierre Gianadda in the Swiss town of Martigny. The paintings seized included works by Pablo Picasso, Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet and Vincent Van Gogh and had been on exhibit at the Foundation Pierre Gianadda for five months. The property of the Russian Government is being taken on behalf of Noga, a Swiss trading firm, seeking to recover $800 million in unpaid debts associated with food for oil exchanges in 1991-1992. Noga has previously succeeded in having a Russian ship, warplanes and diplomatic property temporarily seized in France, Luxemburg, and Sweden.

The Russian Government characterized the action as a gross breach of international law.

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