Van Gogh painting heist: Egyptian officials arrested

August 24th, 2010 - 12:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Cairo, Aug 24 (IANS/AKI) One of Egypt’s top culture officials and other employees of the Egyptian culture ministry were arrested following the theft of painting by Vincent Van Gogh from Cairo’s Mahmud Khalil museum, according to a news report.
Citing a judicial source, the report said the police Monday arrested the head of the fine arts sector of the culture ministry, Mohsen Shaalan, three museum security guards and an official. The charge was negligence.

Following the heist of “Vase and Flowers” Saturday, Egyptian culture minister Farouk Hosni announced that it had been recovered at the Cairo airport and that two Italians had been arrested in connection with theft. Hosni later retracted the comment, saying he had been misinformed.

According to experts the painting is worth more than $50 million.

Egypt’s top prosecutor, Abdel Meguid Mahmud, said poor security was to blame for the theft.

He told reporters Sunday that seven out of 43 security cameras were working and that the alarms and cameras had been out of order for some time.

Hosni Monday said that “the search is ongoing” and that “police are on alert at the borders and the airports”, according to a news report.

The painting was earlier recovered in 1978 after it was stolen the year prior to that.

–IANS/AKI

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