Kunsthal art heist: suspects want to be tried in the Netherlands

The three Romanians charged which stealing seven valuable paintings from Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum last October want to be tried in the Netherlands, their lawyer has told the Telegraaf.

Earlier this week it emerged the Dutch public prosecution department had decided not to begin proceedings to have the men extradited, saying they would go on trial in Romania. Dutch legal experts said this was a very usual step.

But the men’s lawyer Bogdan Cimbru told the Telegraaf if they are not tried in the Netherlands ‘the paintings will never be recovered’. ‘They have made this very clear,’ the lawyer said.

The men are worried about spending time in a Romanian prison and do not think they will get a fair trial, Cimbru told the paper. They want to agree a deal with the public prosecutor, he said.

Minutes

The heist took place on October 16 in just a few minutes. Works by Monet, Picasso, Matisse and Gauguin were among the seven stolen.

A 19-year-old Romanian woman will face trial in Netherlands. She is being held on suspicion of possessing the paintings in the period after the robbery.

Police think the paintings were taken to a property in Rotterdam where the woman lived. There the paintings may have been removed from their frames.