August 4, 2020

Jaime Botn is sentenced to 3 years in prison and a fine of 91.7 million for smuggling a Picasso – La Provincia


The Criminal Court number 27 of Madrid has rectified the sentence againstthe former president of Bankinter Jaime Botín, due to “an error” in the penalties imposed. The banker was convicted of a crime ofsmuggling of cultural property for wanting to take a Picasso by boat with the intention of selling itin the United Kingdom, and after the revision, thejail sentence to three years and one day, and the fine rises to 91.7 million euros.

Botín had been sentenced in January to a sentence of 18 months in prison and 52.4 million euros for this crime. This clarification of sentence comes after writings from the Prosecutor’s Office and the State Advocacy in which they asked the judge who issued the clarification “having observed aerror in the imposition of the penalty“.

Although this type of rectification is very unusual, in the order of the Chamber it is pointed out that in accordance with article 267 of the Organic Law of the Judiciary there is the possibility of correcting “manifest and arithmetic material errors”, and since they observe the error in the imposition of penalty proceed to the modification of the same.

Thus, it is indicated in the order, the sentence of January 14, 2020 in which Jaime Botín is convicted for smuggling cultural property had to contemplate those three years and one day and 91.7 million in addition to aspecial disqualification for the right of passive suffrageduring the time of the sentence.

Initially, the judge set the fine based on the appraisal of the painting made by the auction house Christie’s. That is why he calculated the penalty at twice the value, 54.2 million.

‘Head of young woman’

With this review, on which there is recourse, the Criminal Court number 27 of Madrid condemns the banker for trying to take a picture of Picasso’s ‘Young woman’s head’ on a ship, to sell it in the United Kingdombeing “fully aware” that the Government had forbidden it. The work, valued at 26 million, will go to the State.

At the trial, which was held last November 2019, the Prosecutor’s Office requested four years in prison and a fine of 100 million euros. The Advocacy also requested that the schooner in which the painting was intervened when he was in French waters was to stop at the hands of the State.

But in the sentence, the judge ruled out both extremes, but considered proven that the transfer of the work of art, found in Corsica,I did not have the mandatory permission of the Spanish and British authoritiesand that, therefore, the act was constituting a crime of smuggling cultural property.

Botín explained that he bought the painting of 1906 in 1977 and lhe had at his home in Madrid and on a farm in Ciudad Real. At one point, he contacted the auction company Christie’s to sell the painting at an auction to be held in February 2013 in London.

The company’s own staff let him know that given the age of the piece, he should have permission from the Ministry of Culture to export it and Botín authorized them to process the corresponding licenses stating that the painting was in Madrid and that would be the customs office of exit.

However, in December 2012, Patrimonio denied the export authorization, “frustrating its purpose of selling it in said auction house in London” due to the exceptional nature of the painting, as it belongsto the artist’s “Gósol” periodand there is no such work in Spanish territory.

Booty was notified of the refusal, as was also warned after the Ministry of Culture issued a Ministerial order declaring the inexportibility of the table as a precautionary measure until the relevant statement of the sameas a Property of Cultural Interest. But the former president of Bankinter, says the sentence, ignored this order of Culture, “despite being fully aware” of it and moved the picture to his schooner docked in Valencia “in order to get him out of Spain, giving instructions to his captain to to hide it from the authorities. ” He, in the judge’s words, “ignored” the ban.

Intercepted in Corsica

In fact, two and a half years later, in June 2015, the Civil Guard Fiscal Service conducted an inspection of the ship and asked the captain to make a declaration of the goods on board, but did not include the picture, as he Botín had indicated and is considered proven in the sentence.

It was the French customs services that, knowing that the exbanker was processing an exit permit from Corsica, where the schooner was docked, ordered an inspection of it andThey located the box packed in the commander’s cabin.When they learned that Botín was forbidden to remove the painting from Spain, they proceeded to seize it, since in addition, the banker was processing plane tickets to travel with the painting to Switzerland.

“There is plenty of discussion: it’s heritage”

A court in Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid) then agreed to insure the painting as a precautionary measure and issued a car requesting its transfer to Spain, which finally took place in August 2015. Picasso’s painting was deposited in theReina Sofía National Art Center Museumat judicial disposal.

The judge understands that “since the painting is from the year 1906, there is plenty of discussion about the classification of the good as of cultural interest or its cataloging” and the work in question, “It is a clear example of Spanish historical heritage,since it is a contribution of the Spaniards to the world of art. “Therefore, it is convenient that there is a crime of smuggling punishable by up to five years in prison.

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