French Man Living in Florida Indicted for Conspiring to Sell Stolen Paintings
Date: 28 Jun 2008 | | Views: 3105
Source: Bloomberg, by Philip Boroff
COOPER CITY - A Frenchman living in Florida was charged with attempting to sell a Claude Monet painting and three other artworks stolen at gunpoint last year from the Museum of Fine Arts in Nice, France.
Bernard Jean Ternus, 55, offered the stolen paintings for sale at below-market prices, according to an indictment filed in Miami federal court. Ternus negotiated the sale for 3 million euros, or $4.8 million, court papers said. Earlier this week, one of Monet's water lily paintings sold at a Christie's auction in London for almost $82 million.
According to the indictment, the four stolen paintings Ternus tried to sell are: Monet's ``Cliffs Near Dieppe,''Alfred Sisley's ``The Lane of Poplars at Moret'' and two works by Jan Brueghel the Elder, ``Allegory of Water'' and ``Allegory of Earth.''
Ternus was arrested June 4 at his home in Cooper City, Florida, by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and is in custody, according to a statement released today by the U.S. Attorney in Miami. Ternus couldn't be reached for comment.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney didn't return calls.
The indictment said Ternus worked with co-conspirators to sell the paintings from August 2007 until June 4, when his alleged associates were arrested by French National Police officers in southern France. The four paintings were recovered by French police in Marseille.
In October, two undercover FBI agents began meeting with Ternus as he was seeking help in selling the paintings. He was charged with conspiring to transport stolen goods.