Art Crime

Le Guennec found guilty of Picasso theft

Husband and wife Pierre and Danielle Le Guennec have been found guilty of the theft of 271 works by Picasso, which they have kept hidden in their garage for almost 40 years, and have been sentenced to two years in prison, and must return the stolen works to the painter’s family.

Pierre Le Guennec, now aged 75, claims that he received the box of artworks works dating from the early 1970s as a gift from Jacqueline Picasso while working as an electrician at the couple’s villa in Mougins, near Cannes. The Picasso family claim that he obtained the works, which are estimated to be worth tens of millions of euros, by fraudulent means. An inquest was launched upon the discovery of the works in 2010, with a court case opening on 10 February 2015.

The retired electrician maintains that he was not aware of the value of the gift, and that he didn’t know what the box contained, not having opened until around 2009-2010. A lawyer from the prosecution claims, however, that Pierre Le Guennec was at the heart of an “international trade in stolen works”, and as such should serve a five year prison sentence and pay a fine of €375,000. A lawyer representing the couple has told Le Figaro that they intend to appeal the judgement.

 

Photo courtesy of Nathan Laurell under Creative Commons License.

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Art Media Agency (AMA) is an international news agency, focused on the art market. Each week, AMA produces over 300 of these articles, covering all aspects of the art world including: galleries, auction houses, fairs, foundations, museums, artists, insurance, shipping, and cultural policy.