January 27, 2023

Raven Tribune

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Spanish authorities seize "smuggled" Picasso at Ibiza airport

Spanish authorities seize “smuggled” Picasso at Ibiza airport

Spain’s Tax Agency and Civil Guard said in a statement on Monday that officials in Spain confiscated a drawing believed to be drawn by Pablo Picasso and valued at more than $460,000 from a passenger who failed to declare it to airport customs.

The traveler, whose name has not been released, arrived in Ibiza, Spain, from Switzerland on July 5, and attempted to smuggle the 1966 sketch, called “Trois Personnages”, in his luggage, According to Spanish officials.

Spanish authorities said customs officials in Switzerland had told them about a passenger who was “carrying a work of art in circumstances” that Swiss officials deemed “suspicious.” The man told the authorities that he had nothing to say when he was questioned after landing at Ibiza airport.

Authorities said that when he tried to pass through a green corridor at the airport, customs officers searched his bags and found the drawing that Picasso had signed.

The traveler then claimed, according to investigators, that the work was a copy and presented a handwritten bill for 1,500 Swiss francs, or about $1,550.

But during a search in luggage, investigators found a second bill from an art gallery in Zurich for 450,000 Swiss francs, or about $464,000, for the sale of “Trois figures” (three figures), authorities said.

artistBorn in Málaga, Spain, he became one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, and his works gross sums of money. In May, Picasso estimated “Femme Nue Couchée” at more than $60 million, Sold for $67.5 million with fees in Sotheby’s.

The Spanish authorities said in a statement: “Since this is property in excess of 150,000 euros and was presented without a customs declaration despite the specific questions of the authorities regarding whether the passenger had anything to declare, a presumed crime could have been committed by the smuggled goods.”

After the accident, the drawing was submitted for examination to the director of the Ibiza Museum of Contemporary Art, who stated that the artwork was an original Picasso and that its market value matched the price of the Swiss exhibition bill.

Spanish authorities said experts would complete a more comprehensive analysis of the artwork to determine its source, and that it would remain under court supervision until the investigation was completed.