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To review the basics of this case: Radu Dogaru, the one whose mother, Olga, first said she burned all of the above art and then retracted her statement, Alexandru Bitu, and Eugen Darie, who described bringing the paintings in a car to Romania, confessed in September to stealing the missing art from the “Avant-Gardes” exhibit at the Kunsthal in the early morning of October 16, 2012. They were arrested in January of 2013 through a sting operation when they were trying to sell the art for 100,000 euros each. One more member of the group, Adrian Procop, has not been apprehended. The other three are being tried in Romania this fall after attempting unsuccessfully to get the trial moved to the Netherlands, even threatening to destroy the art if this weren’t accomplished.

The fate of the art is still unknown, but tests on the ashes from Olga Dogaru’s oven have not as yet been completed. Sunday’s article says that the huge variance in the media reports of the value of the missing art from about $400 million to between $10 and $15 million were open market values. Black market values are typically only 7 to 10% of the open market figures.

According to the New York Times article, the 100,000 euro price the Romanians were asking is much lower than they tried to get initially, and way lower than they might have been able to get if they hadn’t been so naive. Cleverer robbers have several choices of which direction to get remuneration for their stolen art. It is thought that many use the art for ransom from the rightful owners or their insurance companies. Although art insurers and people in the art recovery business deny that they pay ransom for art, the perception that this is possible is held in the criminal community. Sometimes the heist is even commissioned. Frequently, stolen art is used as currency on the black market in exchanges for heroin, weapons, diamonds, or even the abrogation of prison sentences because it is easier to move than cash.

Presumably selected by the Romanian robbers for their portability and for their proximity to the exit door through which they had gained access to the museum, the works of art stolen from the Rotterdam Kunsthal were part of an exhibit of 250 works of art loaned to the museum by the Triton Collection.

Due to the diligence of the reporter, Ed Caesar, there is some interesting information in Sunday’s article. The collectors who amassed the Triton collection were Marijke and Willem Cordia using funds from a successful family shipping business with the philanthropic intention of loaning the art to frequent exhibitions for the cultural benefit of the Dutch people. Willem died two years ago, leaving two children, Keesjan and Eliane, who have not shown interest in preserving the initial interests of the Triton collection.

Where the plot thickens is that the Cordia family had insured the missing art for double the estimated value, 18.5 million euros ($24 million), which was paid to them in full in February by their insurers after the perps were arrested, leaving them the recipients of double the money that the work would have brought at auction and the only winners in the situation so far.