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Collector robbed of masterpieces by top Russian artists worth over half a million dollars

From 2014 to 2016, the owner stored 30 paintings in a flat in downtown Moscow

MOSCOW, October 23. /TASS/. Moscow police are investigating a fraud scheme involving 11 paintings by Ilya Repin, Viktor Vasnetsov, Nicola Benois and Vasily Vereshchagin worth 31 mln rubles ($539, 000). A fraud charge was pressed by the head of the department on public relations of the commission on counteracting corruption and extremism, a law enforcement source told TASS.

"From 2014 to 2016, the owner stored 30 paintings in a flat on Maly Kozikhinsky Lane. In 2015, he met with two men, through his acquaintances, who promised him to help sell the paintings.

In October 2015, the victim gave them eight paintings: ‘In the Repins’ country house’ by Ilya Repin, ‘In the park’ by Pyotr Shreiber, ‘A girl’ by Fedot Sychkov, ‘Tea Time’ and ‘Tsarevna’ by Sergey Solomko, ‘Italy’ and ‘Outskirts’ by Nicola Benois, and ‘Troika’ by Vladimir Makovsky," the source said.

Two months later, the applicant gave them three more pictures: "A girl in a boat" by Viktor Vasnetsov, "In the mountains" by Vasily Vereshchagin and "A summer landscape" by Joseph Krachkovsky. The men had to give the victim money from the sale of the pictures at the end of February 2016, as agreed, but the owner has not received any money yet, and his painting have not been returned.

"The material damage is 31 mln rubles. All paintings belong to the plaintiff.