on June 29, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

U.S. charges Frenchman over stolen Monet, other art

MIAMI (Reuters) – U.S. authorities on Friday charged a Frenchman living in Florida with being involved in the theft last year of two paintings by impressionists Claude Monet and Alfred Sisley and two others by Flemish artist Jan Brueghel.

Bernard Jean Ternus, 55, tried to broker the sale of the stolen paintings to undercover agents of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the French National Police, U.S. prosecutors said.

Ternus, a French citizen who lives in Cooper City, Florida, was charged with conspiring to transport four stolen paintings across borders, knowing that they were stolen, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

Ten people involved in the theft were arrested earlier this month in France at the culmination of the sting operation and all the paintings were recovered in Marseilles.

The paintings were stolen in August from the Museum of Fine Arts in Nice by a masked gang of armed thieves.

They were “Cliffs near Dieppe” by Monet and Sisley’s “Lane of poplars at Moret-sur-Loing”, as well as “Allegory of Water” and “Allegory of Earth” by the baroque-era Brueghel.

(Reporting by Michael Christie, Editing by Jim Loney)