PARIS (Reuters) - Three men are being formally investigated over the theft of five famous paintings by artists including Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse from a French museum, the Paris Prosecutor’s office said on Saturday, in a heist worth $130 million.
The artworks, stolen from Paris’ Museum of Modern Art 18-months ago after the alarm system failed to trigger, have still not been recovered, said an official from the Prosecutor’s office.
Picasso’s Cubist ‘Dove with Green Peas’, one of the snatched paintings, was worth $28 million, according to estimates given by the museum at the time of the heist.
The other paintings included Matisse’s ‘Pastorale’, Georges Braque’s ‘Olive tree near l‘Estaque’, Amedeo Modigliani’s ‘Woman on the range’ and Fernand Leger’s ‘Still Life with Candlesticks’.
The three men were arrested on September 16 and will be detained in jail pending the formal investigation. One of the men is suspected of taking part in the theft and the other two of handling the stolen goods.
A special unit of the interior ministry, the BRB, is in charge of the investigation.
Reporting By Thierry Leveque and John Irish; Editing by Sophie Hares