NEW YORK (AFP) — US authorities have discovered a missing eight-million-dollar painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat belonging to a convicted Brazilian banker and believed to have been smuggled into the United States.
The painting, "Hannibal," was among several artworks valued at up to 30 million dollars that a Brazilian court ordered seized when its owner, Edemar Cid Ferreira, was sentenced to 21 years in jail for money laundering in 2006.
However, when Brazilian authorities raided Ferreira's home and offices, they found that a number of the artworks including "Hannibal" were missing.
In August last year, the painting was shipped from London to New York with a false customs form detailing it as "a painting" with a value of 100 dollars.
US authorities working with international law enforcement agency Interpol then tracked it down and seized it from a New York warehouse in November.
Ferreira was sentenced for his part in the collapse of Banco Santos, S.A., of which he was founder and president. New York prosecutors are now seeking to have the canvas returned to Brazilian authorities.
The painting, described as predominantly black and blue featuring a skull shape and symbols and inscriptions including "Hannibal," was painted in 1982, six years before Basquiat died in New York of a drug overdose aged just 27.