Romanian woman says she didn't destroy Picasso and others

July 22, 2013 at 5:01 PM
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BUCHAREST, Romania, July 22 (UPI) -- A Romanian woman who allegedly told authorities she torched seven paintings, including artwork by Matisse and Picasso, told a court she did not burn the works.

Olga Dogaru, whose son, Radu, 29, admitted to stealing the paintings from the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam, Netherlands, last October, told judges Monday she did not burn the paintings in her sauna stove as she had previously claimed she had done in an attempt to protect her son, The New York Times reported Monday.

"I did not burn them," Dogaru told the three-judge panel.

"I believed that what I said before was the best thing at the moment, that this was the right thing to do."

However, she did not offer an alternative story for the fate of the still-missing seven works of art, worth millions of dollars. Besides, Picasso and Matisse, the pieces included works by Monet, Gaugin, Lucian Freud and Meyer de Haan.

Investigators said forensic evidence was found in the stove, including copper tacks and pigments used by artists of the relevant periods.

The charges against Dogaru include destruction with very serious consequences, supporting a criminal group and assisting criminals.

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