Swiss seize Russian art exhibit for debts

Nov. 16, 2005 at 2:03 PM
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MARTIGNY, Switzerland, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Police in Martigny, Switzerland, have seized a Russian art collection insured for $1 billion because Russia owes a local company money for food deliveries.

The Noga company sought the seizure of various Russian assets abroad since 1997 as part of the long-running legal battle.

Swiss authorities confirmed six vehicles transporting the artworks by Manet, Renoir, Picasso and Matisse had been stopped, but did not disclose where the display was taken.

The 25 paintings are part of a collection of the Pushkin state art museum in Moscow, the BBC reported. The museum's director, Irina Antonova, said she found it outrageous that works of art should become "hostages" in political disputes.

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