Feb. 4 (UPI) — A Ukrainian artwork vendor who was discovered responsible of orchestrating the theft of a $1.6 million portray by the impressionist artist Paul Signac from a French museum has been sentenced to 5 years in jail for the heist.
Vadym Huzhva, 64, was discovered responsible by the Nancy Legal Courtroom of stealing Signac’s work “Le Port de La Rochelle” from its body on the Musée de Beaux-Arts in Nancy, France, in response to the regional newspaper L’Est Républicain.
He was additionally convicted of stealing 4 different works and has been ordered to pay almost $325,000 in damages, the newspaper reported.
The portray was made by Signac, well-known for growing the post-impressionism motion of pointillism, in 1915.
Investigators found that Huzhva and two different males eliminated the portray from its body with a field cutter and rolled it as much as perform of the museum underneath a raincoat certainly one of them was sporting in 2018, the French publication Les Actualites reported.
The portray was regarded as misplaced till police in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, raided the house of an alleged homicide suspect in 2019.
The homicide suspect allegedly advised Ukrainian police that he had the portray in his closet and requested them to deal with it with care whereas figuring out Huzhva as an confederate, in response to the stories.
Huzhva, on the time, was imprisoned in Australia after he was convicted there for stealing a portray by Pierre-Auguste Renoir in Vienna in 2018.
He was extradited to France upon his launch from jail in Australia in 2020 and the portray has since been returned to the museum.
“After restoration by Noëlle Jeannette, Paul Signac’s ‘Le Port de La Rochelle’ is once more seen within the museum’s everlasting collections,” the museum stated in an announcement in September.
Samira Boudiba, Huzhva’s lawyer, advised Le Parisein that he denies any connection to the theft and claims “it is a conspiracy.”
“He is not on the surveillance movie. All you possibly can see are three individuals who can’t be recognized. The entire video reveals the time the portray was stolen, however that is it,” Boudiba stated.
“He’s accused of stealing a portray in France, which is unusual. With out going into the Russian-Ukrainian battle, he says it is a conspiracy.”