Ringleader in Dutch art theft claims he had inside help

Tue Oct 22, 2013 9:06am EDT
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By Ioana Patran

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - The confessed ringleader in the theft of seven paintings, including a Picasso and a Monet, from a Dutch museum says he had inside help, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

Radu Dogaru and two other Romanians have so far pleaded guilty in a Bucharest court to stealing artworks worth tens of millions of euros from Rotterdam's Kunsthal museum in October 2012 - one of the art world's biggest heists in recent years.

Two other defendants were expected to testify later while a sixth remains at large and is being tried in absentia.

On Tuesday, defense lawyer Catalin Dancu told reporters during a break in proceedings his client said he had inside help in the heist.

"That person helped them so that the one open door was the way in to the museum," he said.

Dogaru refused to reveal the alleged accomplice's identity.

"Radu Dogaru has said 'my life and my safety are more important than revealing the person's name'," Dancu said.

A spokeswoman for the museum, Sabine Parmentier, declined to comment on the issue when contacted by Reuters.   Continued...

The names of those charged with stealing paintings from a Dutch museum are seen on a trials list at a court in Bucharest October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel