Detectives from the German Federal Criminal Police seized a trove of forged paintings; complete with forged provenance documents and receipts, as well as jewellery and other valuables in a coordinated raid across six German states last June – According to Der Hessische Rundfunk, . Investigators into the illegal ring believe that the artworks were painted in forgery studios that were based in Russia and Israel and then shipped to Germany for sale. This information was obtained during two simultaneous raids in Switzerland and Israel.
Some 15 months after Police uncovered the international art forgery ring, German state prosecutors have officially charged two men with the crimes, Der Spiegel reported. The two men charged in connection with this illicit operation are said to be a 68-year-old former gallerist from the German city of Wiesbaden, and the 42-year-old former director of that gallery. A 41-year-old man was also charged as an accomplice.
State prosecutors confirmed to the Der Speigal on Monday that the two men stand accusedof offering and selling 18 forged works of Russian avant-garde art. The forgeries were reported to be works in the style of Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Alexej von Jawlensky, and Natalia Goncharova, among others. It is stated that the sale of 11 counterfeit paintings had resulted in approximately €3 million worth of income for the forgers.
The solicitors of both the accused ringleaders declined to comment on their clients’ case when they were contacted by Der Spiegel. Both men remain in custody.