Egyptian tycoon offers reward for Van Gogh theft
Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has offered a 1-million Egyptian pound ($175,300) reward for information leading to the recovery of a stolen Van Gogh painting, television reported on Wednesday.
Sawiris, chairman of the leading Arab mobile operator Orascom Telecom, is the first businessman to publicly get involved in the search for the panting, worth an estimated $55 million.
The painting, known as "Poppy Flower" according to a statement in Arabic, was stolen on Saturday morning from Cairo's Mahmoud Khalil Museum, home to one of the Middle East's finest collections of 19th- and 20th-century art.
An early investigation of the theft showed "flagrant shortcomings" in security, with only seven out of 43 security cameras working properly.
The culture ministry's head of fine art, Mohsen Shaalan, has been detained along with four other officials for 19 days pending investigation after being accused of "negligence and failing to carry out their employment duties."
Nine other employees were barred from travel.
The museum houses works assembled by Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil, a politician who died in 1953, including paintings by Gauguin, Monet, Manet and Renoir, as well as the Dutch post-Impressionist master Van Gogh.
Sawiris, the oldest of three billionaire sons of Egyptian entrepreneur Onsi Sawiris, owns just over half of Orascom Telecom and 100 percent of mobile phone operators Wind Italy and Wind Hellas of Greece through his investment vehicle Weather Investments.
Art Hostage Comments:
Can you believe the balls of this guy ?
He is a billionaire and the cheapskate offers $175,000 reward for a $55 million Van Gogh.
That's 0.3 % zero point three per cent of the value.
Get the fuck outta here.
To be fair he is just following orders from art loss investigators and Egyptian authorities.
It is called the psychology of low worth.
Meaning if the thieves cannot hook into the stolen art underworld then the hope is they will become desperate and take anything that is on offer.
The same thing happened on the Swiss art thefts in 2008 when the Cezanne and Degas were stolen from the EG Buehrle Collection, a private museum in Zurich and are worth $150 million.
The reward offered by the EG Buehrle museum remains $90,000.
I hasten to add the Cezanne and Degas have not been recovered to date.
This guy Sawiris and authorities must have been smoking too much Egyptian Hubble bubble pipe, or been sucking on old Grandpa''s cough medicine.
Drunk or stoned Sawiris and authorities cannot be serious, and if anyone comes forward they deserve all the jail time they will get.
Who in their right mind is going to come forward with information when the prospect of actually getting this poultry reward is remote, to say the least, and added to that, $175,000 for a $55 million Van Gogh.
The intention is not to pay any reward, just to arrest everyone as soon as the Van Gogh sees the light of day, so why not then offer $10 million or $5.5 million which would be 10% of the value.
Message from the Art Crime Underworld is:
"Wrap it up, put it away, leave it a few years and wait for a change of heart"
Did I say Gaza, the route to Lebanon, Syria and on to Iran ???
That's it, send in an undercover arms dealer who can offer arms for the Van Gogh as collateral, then as soon as the Van Gogh is produced, arrest everyone within a ten mile radius.
Maybe the MI5 Undercover arms dealers Ali or Amir could have a go.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/northernireland/7864018/Real-IRA-commander-caught-in-MI5-arms-dealing-sting.html
Apparently, the Leonardo Da Vinci Madonna was in Iran prior to its recovery in October 2007, held as collateral in an arms deal.
It made its way back to Scotland via Iran, Ireland, Liverpool and on to Glasgow.
Why there was even an offer to go fetch the Da Vinci Madonna from Iran in a daring raid prior to its recovery in 2007.
Don't think ex FBI Icon Robert Wittman would be interested in this Van Gogh theft as he is retired, maybe he could advise, get a nice juicy consultants fee ??? Truth is, if there was a buyer already set up for this Van Gogh then that's it, weapons for Van Gogh, if not then the tiny reward offer will not smoke out the thieves, unless they are low rate criminal desperado's, in which case they should just hand back the Van Gogh anonymously and leave the stage quietly. Is the buyer waiting in Dubai for the Van Gogh ??
This whole affair stumbles from one farce to another.