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Pablo Picasso, Head of a Young Woman, 1906.

Collector Faces Prison Sentence and $100 Million Fine for Smuggling a Picasso

Spanish collector and billionaire Jaime Botín, the largest shareholder in the Spanish bank Bankinter S.A. and great grandson of the founder of Santander, has been accused of smuggling Pablo Picasso’s Head of a Young Woman, 1906, out of Spain, José María Irujo of El País reports.

Botín could be sentenced to up to four years in prison and ordered to pay a $100 million fine if convicted. The prosecutor is also asking for the court to invoke Article 29 of the Law of Historical Heritage in order to transfer ownership of the work, valued at $30 million, to the state.

Picasso’s portrait, an early work from his Gósol period, was declared a national treasure by the Spanish National Court in May 2015, and, therefore, can not be exported. French authorities confiscated the painting from a yacht in the waters near Corsica, France. Botín is the major shareholder of the business that owns the ship, the Euroshipping Charter Company. Once the canvas was seized it was moved to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, where it will remain until the conclusion of the investigation.

The defense is arguing that the entrepreneur did not know that sailing in international waters in a vessel that was registered to Botín would constitute exporting the work.

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