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Jonathan Burne: ’I threw pictures of Picasso and Matisse for $ 100 million’


05/03/2017


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PARIS. During the trial last month, Yonathan Birn, one of the accused, said he had destroyed five paintings stolen in 2010 from the Museum of Modern Art. The paintings belonged to the brushes of Picasso, Matisse, Modigliani, Braque and Fernand Leger.

«I threw them in the trash. I made the biggest mistake of my life, «Burn said in the courtroom.

His words, however, did not convince either the judge or his accomplices, who consider Burna «too smart» to destroy the masterpieces of painting. A number of researchers believe that the paintings have long been removed from France.

Vieran Tomic

The main suspect Vjeran Tomic (Vjeran Tomic), nicknamed «Spiderman», according to the French media, has already been convicted of offenses 14 times in the past. In his house, the authorities found mountaineering equipment: gloves, ropes, shoes and tools. Tomich showed that at about 3 am on May 20, 2010, he broke into the museum, located next to the Eiffel Tower, disabling pre-security systems. He removed the glass in the bay window and cut out the metal lock, which allowed him to move freely around the building. Tomich was to steal the picture of Fernand Leger and, possibly, Modigliani, commissioned by the third defendant, 61-year-old antiquarian Jean-Michel Corvez. Along the way, he stumbled upon the paintings of Picasso, Matisse and Braque, and decided to grab them too.

A few hours after the theft, Tomich offered all five pictures to Corvez, who was stunned by such a proposal. Korvez admitted that initially he paid Tomsk 40 000 euros in small bills only for the work of Leger, and was not sure that he would find buyers for the remaining stolen paintings.

Concerned about the security of the stolen, Corvez showed the pictures to his friend, 40-year-old expert Jonathan Burn. Burn agrees to buy Modigliani’s work, and hide the rest in his studio. Modigliani he deposited in a bank safe. When the police began investigating the theft, Burne panicked. In May 2011, he took Modigliani from the safe, returned to the workshop, took out all the pictures from the stretchers, broke them and threw them into the garbage.

Tomic is accused of stealing public cultural values, Korvez and Burne - in receiving and storing stolen goods. All three are also charged with criminal conspiracy to commit theft. Corvez and Burne can be sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, Tomich - to 20 years imprisonment as a recidivist.

It is interesting that during the interrogation, Tomich stated that he was confident that Burn had not destroyed the pictures, but hid it, while he was not ashamed to say that «these are my works of art.»


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