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Court case challenges Rolf Harris art theft

rhThe fine art world was rocked by the loss of a Rolf Harris painting back in 2005, when the artwork valued at around £100,000 disappeared from a warehouse. The painting titled Lovers on the Seine II is known as one of the best work by Harris.

Since its loss at a Warwick museum, the widow of Dean Hardy, Maxine Hardy, has fought to find out what happened to it.

In June of 2009 Judge Simon Brown once again stirred up scandal when he ruled that the Washington Green Fine Art Publishing company of Birmingham had ‘dishonestly appropriated’ it.

The judge ruled that Udi Sheleg, the managing director of Washington Green, knew where the painting is or knew what had happened and thus was responsible for its loss. After the court case closed Washington Green was fined £135,000 which included £95,000 due to Hardy for reparations.

This Monday however Washington Green challenged the ruling in the London Civil Appeal Court claiming that there was not any evidence that proves Washington Green ever had possession of the piece or that at any point Sheleg may have done something dishonest.

QC for Washington Green, Philip Marshall, attacked Judge Brown’s previous ruling as ‘perverse’ stating that he was so intent at looking for a conspiracy involving Sheleg he overlooked the more obvious fact that a third party may have stolen the painting or it simply may have been lost.

The last time the painting was seen was in October of 2005.


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