PARIS:-

Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier was charged by a Paris court with stealing paintings by Pablo Picasso, a charge he categorically denied. The 52-year-old, under investigation for repeated theft, must hand over 27 million euros ($31 million) in caution money - the sum said to have been paid by Russian billionaire Dmitri Rybolovlev for two Picasso masterpieces, including “Woman with Fan”, and 58 drawings. The investigation was opened after a complaint in March by Catherine Hutin-Blay, the iconic painter’s step-daughter.–AFP

She claimed, after a Brazilian restoration expert raised the alarm, that several artworks that belonged to her had been stolen. Two years earlier, the expert had been commissioned to restore and prepare artworks by Picasso for use as murals using a technique known as marouflage. The artworks he was told to restore were part of a collection owned by 68-year-old Hutin-Blay, who believed they were in storage in Gennevilliers near Paris since 2008.