Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna, Frank Was Frank, J Was OK, The Ghost Said "So Stuff Your Fecking Crown, We Irish Won't Lay Down" !!!

I’m not an extortionist, says accused
Lawyer insists he acted on trust throughout talks to ensure return of Leonardo painting

By Hilary Duncanson

Published: 31/03/2010

A solicitor insisted yesterday he did the “right thing” in working to secure the return of a stolen Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece.

Marshall Ronald said he was proud of what he achieved and it was sad that he was facing a trial which had “decimated” his life.

The 53-year-old said he acted on trust throughout the negotiations and fell “hook, line and sinker” for an undercover police operation.

He said the police had been deceptive and played footloose and fancy-free with valuable property.

“The fact is, I’m not an extortionist,” he told the High Court in Edinburgh.

Ronald is one of five men accused of demanding £4.25million for the return of the artwork Madonna of the Yarnwinder. The painting was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle, the Dumfriesshire estate of the Duke of Buccleuch, in August 2003.

Ronald has told jurors of an approach made to his law firm in Lancashire by two of his co-accused, Robert Graham, 57, and John Doyle, 61.

He said the pair had heard there was a chance they could return the Leonardo painting to its owner and wanted advice on whether it could be done lawfully.

The painting was taken into police custody in October 2007 after a swoop on a meeting at a lawyers’ office in Glasgow. Ronald was among those at the meeting.

Ronald was asked if there was anything he would like to say to the court, with the benefit of hindsight.

“I feel what we achieved in getting this painting back is something to be proud of,” he said.

“I think we did the right thing. I think we’re very proud of it and we have done something which would not have been achieved but for the effort that we did. The police couldn’t do it.”

Jurors have heard that a police sting to trace the £20million artwork swung into action after Ronald contacted an expert on recovering missing art.

The court has heard he had communications with undercover officers, believing they were working as agents for the duke.

He said: “As an experienced lawyer, I genuinely believed they were who they said they were. I was taken in hook, line and sinker.”

The lawyer told the trial that he operated on trust in the negotiations surrounding the return of the painting.

Ronald, of Skelmersdale; Graham and Doyle, both of Ormskirk, Lancashire; Calum Jones, 45, a solicitor from Kilmacolm, Renfrewshire; and David Boyce, 63, a solicitor from Airdrie, Lanarkshire, deny conspiring to extort £4.25million from the duke and the painting’s insurers. They are not accused of the robbery.

Ronald also told the trial he was threatened by “scary” individuals during a meeting about the painting.

He said he became frightened during the conversation and felt that going to the police would put him in danger.

He said the meeting in a pub had initially involved co-accused Graham and Doyle but that the threats, from men known as “J” and “Frank”, came when his co-accused left.

He told the trial: “They said things to me which actually frightened me.”

The five accused have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to extort £4.25million and an alternative charge of attempted extortion. The offence is alleged to have taken place between July and October 2007.

The trial continues before Lady Dorrian today.

Solicitor denies da Vinci ransom

A solicitor accused of plotting to secure a pay-off for returning a stolen painting has denied demanding a ransom.

Marshall Ronald, 53, told the High Court in Edinburgh, it was a commercial deal between "willing parties".

He is one of five men who deny demanding £4.25m for the safe return of a stolen Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece.

The Madonna of the Yarnwinder painting was snatched from the Duke of Buccleuch's stately home, Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfriesshire, in 2003.

At the end of three days of questioning, Mr Ronald told the court: "I resent the use of the word conspiracy because it is an alien concept to me."

He added: "We have never sought any ransom at all.

"This is plain and simple. It was a commercial deal between willing parties acting with integrity."

Police raid

The art treasure was seized during a police raid on a Glasgow law office, more than four years after it was stolen.

Mr Ronald, of Skelmersdale, Lancashire, was arrested then.

On trial with him are Robert Graham, 57, and John Doyle, 61, both from Lancashire, Calum Jones, 45, from Renfrewshire and David Boyce, 63, from Lanarkshire.

They are not accused of stealing the painting and deny conspiring to extort £4.25m or attempting to extort the money

The trial continues.

Art Hostage Comments:

Remember Curly bonce Jonathon Powell said back in 2002 at the Labour Party Conference regarding IRA smuggling, emanating from South Armagh

"What harm can a few Uneducated Micks do smuggling a few cigarettes ?"

I'll tell you what, they turned it into a billion dollar portfolio, that's what, and yes the devil finds work for idle hands thus the Brits allowed the Northern Bank job to go ahead, even allowed Bobby Storey to get a political post, perks and car included.

The Brits also turned a blind eye to art theft and the security services/spooks monitored the exchange of monies for the Da Vinci Madonna without stepping in as they wanted to follow the money trail.

MI5/6 don't tell S.O.C.A., S.O.C.A. don't tell Dumfries Police, Dumfries Police don't tell Scottish Drug Police, no-one tells anyone what each agency is up to, therefore each agency was and is working towards their own exclusive agenda.

It wasn't called the "Dirty War" for nothing !!!

The Home fire still burns with patriotic passion at "Home Place" !!!

O'h go on, go on, go on, all together now:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You clearly appear to have a political agenda of your own in the way you are reporting of commenting on this case. You strongly imply that the panting was in republican hands a mater not canvassed in the trial. Do you have direct knowledge where this painting was before it was recovered because none of the men on trial do?
Your reference to a meeting at Gatwick airport is most odd bearing in mind the compass of the alleged conspiracy, which commenced in July 2007
However your allusion to Masonic involvement may have substance
We may well not know the shadowy scenes in the background here be it MI5 or MI6 but a big puzzle in this case is what was the true agenda and who was driving the matter forward
£350k in cash went someone the police had all the information in their possession as to the cash drop
I beggars belief to think that the authorities do not know where this money went or indeed is now
If they don’t then that demonstrates incompetence on an unacceptable scale or dare raise the issue of corruption
There is of course another explanation which opens up further questions namely that the authorities brokers an immunity deal cover by a public interest immunity certificate in order to get the painting returned and dare I say it in the hope that other paintings the subject of the sister web blog would eventually come to light
That possibility raises two important questions
Why are these five men on trial for conspiracy?
Why is there a second Da Vinci trial scheduled to commence on 19 April 2010 involve three more men
Do we live in a society where law enforcement is joined up and properly co ordinate or is the scramble for statistical recognition under the Proceeds of Crime Act and Confiscation of assets blinded the law enforcement authorities into acting in a politically unacceptable way
Dependant upon the outcome of this political show trial MP's in Westminster and Holyrood will insist on further enquiry and if the new Government are honorable to the concept of equality before the law we may find a senior Judge raising and demanding answers to many of the issues raised on your website. Carlsberg do not do political trials but if they did this case would be a cracker
Justice can only be achieved where there is openess and fairness a feauture of political show trials is the withholding of evidence. The attorney General of England ws once pointedly reminded by an eminnat judge
"Be you ever so high the law is above you"
In 1858 Abraham Lincoln said "Accustomed to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises among you"
To put a contempory slant on matters Tom Milton said “We have to have court doors open to make sure they (the courts) are not involved in corrupt actions. As soon as you put asset information behind the cloak of secrecy, then no one will be able to determine that justice is being done.”
It is a strange paradox that all the people with someting to hide be it the original thieves and handlers or those shadowed figures in the backround are not before the Court. I ssincerely hope that the reason for denying a full and proper enquiry into the vast waste of money expended in this case is not the reason given in court by Peter Macadam namely that this is still an ongoing enquiry.
The Scottish Police Comaplaints Commisssion and the English Police Complaints Commission are poised and waiting to investigate the delorable conduct in the case. I would not rule out an action being commenced against the Procurator Fiscal for malicious prosecution either once the truth emerges
I anticipate the Da Vinci case could grace the courts of England and Scotland for many years to come