Czech Republic: Instant repatriation for national artworks
1 June 2011
“State repatriates artworks amid ownership fears,” headlines Lidové noviny. On 31 May, following the seizure of several paintings by authorities in France and Austria, the Minister for Culture has decided to repatriate artworks on loan to foreign galeries, mainly located in Vienna and Paris. The application to have the paintings seized was filed by a Czech-Swiss businessman who, in the wake of the most protracted commercial case in the history of the Czech Republic, obtained a ruling that the government should pay him more than 8 billion crowns (€326 million). The businessman is the owner of Diag Human, a company that was awarded damages on the foot of complaint about unfair competition for a blood plasma processing deal – a judgement that is still under appeal. “It is in the state’s interest to sort out this case as quickly as possible, because the sum involved, which is subject to moratory interest, is increasing every day,” remarks the Prague daily.