Video: Italian police seize 19 priceless artworks

15:48, December 07, 2009      

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Italian tax authorities have found 19 works by Van Gogh, Picasso, Monet and other famous artists, hidden away by the founder of the collapsed dairy company Parmalat.

Authorities have estimated the value of the masterpieces at around 150 million US dollars.

Local Prosecutor, Gerardo Laguardia, said that officials believed at least one of the paintings was about to be sold.

Parma Prosecutor Gerardo Laguardia said, "We suspected some people, we followed them and we got lucky. We learned that there were negotiations under way to sell a painting by Monet. We followed the lead until we found the person who was hiding the masterpieces."

The dairy conglomerate Parmalat collapsed in 2003 under 14 billion euros of debt. It is Europe's largest corporate bankruptcy to date. Small investors who lost their entire life savings were among the 40,000 defrauded bondholders.

Italian courts have already ruled that Calisto Tanzi bore the brunt of the responsibility for the company's collapse. He is currently on trial for alleged fraud.

Ever since the collapse, Tanzi was rumored to have a hidden collection of priceless artworks from some of Europe's most well-known painters. But Tanzi denied the rumors, saying he did not have a secret cache of paintings.

Source: CCTV. com
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