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Petersburg court upholds house arrest of art critic accused of fraud

February 25, 2014, 17:06 UTC+3 ST PETERSBURG
The fine art expert is accused in conducting a sham inspection of impressionist Boris Grigoriev's painting "At Restaurant" which sold for $250,000
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© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

ST. PETERSBURG, February 25. /ITAR-TASS/. St. Petersburg City Court has upheld house arrest of well-known art critic Yelena Basner accused of fraud, her lawyer Larisa Malkova told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

Basner was detained in Petersburg on January 31 within the probe into grand fraud. The fine art expert is suspected of conducting a sham inspection of impressionist Boris Grigoriev's painting "At Restaurant" which sold for $250,000. The painting proved to be a fake. The case was opened in 2012 after the fake was reported by art collector Andrei Vasilyev who had brought it.

Vasilyev learnt that the painting was a fake after he passed it for display at a Moscow exhibition. The original is kept at the Russian Museum repository.

The court's Tuesday decision turned down the defense's petition against the ruling by the city's Oktyabrsky district court on Basner's two month custody.

Basner supervised the department of 20th century art of the State Russian Museum for a long time. Museum officials underlined that she has had no connection to the museum since 2003. According to open sources, Basner is now a consultant with Sweden's Bukowski Auction House.

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