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News: 11 Convicted in Van Gogh Theft

Van Gogh's Poppy Flowers

Van Gogh's Poppy Flowers

In what has been now a three month long saga, Tuesday an Egyptian court convicted eleven officials from the Culture Ministry for gross negligence and incompetence in associated with the theft of a painting worth $50-55 million by Vincent van Gogh from Cairo’s Mahmoud Khalil Museum. It was discovered after the theft of the painting that only seven of the museum’s 43 surveillance cameras were working and the alarm on the painting was in disrepair.

The officials, including Deputy Culture Minister Mohsen Shalaan and the museum’s director, were each sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison and were released on $1,800 bail each pending appeal.
 
During interrogations, Shalaan claimed he reported the museum’s security deficiencies to his superiors and that he had asked Culture Minister Farouk Hosni for a budget of $7 million to improve surveillance systems. He said he was only allotted $88,000.
 
Hosni later testified and presented documents showing a presidential decree approving more than $10 million to upgrade the museum. The painting, valued between $50 million and $55 million, is still missing. - LA Times

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