Romanian Art Thief Blames Kunsthal Museum For Security Lapse

Radu Dogaru one of the six accused Romanian men who has admitted to pilfering paintings by Picasso, Gauguin and Monet has threatened to sue the Dutch Kunsthal Museum for making the robbery too easy. Dogaru who is on trial for the 18-million-euro ($24 million) heist in Rotterdam last year stated that the artworks belonging to the Triton Foundation, ‘were not fitted with any type of alarm system’.

Dutch authorities said that they, “could not imagine that a museum would exhibit such valuable works with so little security”, Dogaru who was in court on Tuesday reiterated. “We can clearly speak of negligence with serious consequences”, defence lawyer Catalin Dancu told journalists. “If we do not receive answers about who is guilty” for the failure of the security system at the museum, “we are considering hiring Dutch lawyers to start a legal case in The Netherlands or in Romania.” The lawyer explained that, if found guilty of negligence, the Kunsthal “would have to share the burden of compensation” with his client, who faces millions in claims from insurers.

The missing paintings are still thought to have been destroyed by Dogaru’s mother, who admitted to burning them in her stove, in the Romanian village of Carcaliu, in order to destroy evidence. Olga Dogaru later retracted her statement but experts from Romania’s National History Museum said ashes retrieved from her stove included the remains of at least three oil paintings with tacks from the stretchers dating from before the end of the 19th century.  Radu Dogaru told the judge on Tuesday, in his first public statement on the matter that the pictures were “Certainly not destroyed”. He now faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The next hearing is due on November 19.

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