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MOSCOW, May 5. /TASS/. Russia’s Investigations Committee on Tuesday conducted searches at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, the national treasury of Russian fine art and one of the greatest museums in the world, over artwork smuggling to a sum of at least 1.9 million roubles (36,700 U.S. dollars).
A Committee spokesman said a criminal case had been opened on charges of illicit trafficking of cultural values.
On April 29, while passing customs procedures at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport, a 33-year-old man declared five paintings to a sum of 180,000 roubles (3,500 U.S. dollars). Investigators say however the paintings’ real price is at least 1.9 million roubles (36,700 U.S. dollars).
Investigators conducted searches at the Tretyakov Gallery’s expert department. "Apart from that, investigators plan to bring charges against the suspect," the spokesman said.