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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Stolen Art Watch, Da Vinci Madonna, Marshall Ronald, Against All Odds, Litigates In Person Towards Truth & Justice

Da Vinci accused Marshall Ronald's payout bid proceeds

Marshall Ronald  
Marshall Ronald's bid to sue the Duke of Buccleuch will go to a hearing of evidence

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A judge has rejected a move to dismiss a bid to sue the Duke of Buccleuch for £4.25m over the return of a stolen Leonardo da Vinci painting.
Marshall Ronald, 57, is seeking the payout following the recovery of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder.
He was cleared in 2010 of conspiring to extort money for its return.
Lawyers for the duke described the bid to sue as "an attempt to extort a sum of money" but a judge decided it should go to a hearing of evidence.
Mr Ronald, of Upholland, Lancashire, was acquitted with others of a conspiracy to extort money for the safe return of the masterpiece at a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in 2010.

“Start Quote

As matters stand, I do not accept that the pursuer's case is bound to fail on grounds of illegality or public policy”
Lord Glennie
The valuable artwork had been stolen from the Duke of Buccleuch's Drumlanrig Castle seven years earlier.
After the court case, Mr Ronald raised an action claiming that he was due payment for the return of the painting which was recovered in 2007.
At first he was suing both the duke and the police but dropped his claim against the police last year.
The duke is contesting his claims and his lawyers moved to dismiss the action.
They say the agreement Mr Ronald is seeking to rely on is "unenforceable as being illegal and contrary to public policy".
However, Lord Glennie said that it was "by no means obvious" that a "to whom it may concern" letter written as part of a police undercover operation was not meant to be taken at face value.
"It is by no means impossible to conceive of a case where, as part of a police operation to recover a painting, a reward is offered to someone who may be in a position to facilitate its recovery, and the reward is paid to that person when the painting is in fact recovered," he said.
"I accept that it is no doubt also possible to conceive of a situation where the offer of a reward is not intended to be genuine, and the letter granting authority to the intermediary to make that offer on behalf of the owner of the painting is indeed intended as a sham."
'True picture' He added that on Mr Ronald's pleadings in the action it was alleged that the agreement was made at a time when he was not in possession of the stolen painting and did not know who had it.
"The best that can be said is that he was in a position in which he had the opportunity, through others, to pay money in the hope of procuring its release," he said.
"If this is the true picture, I can see no basis upon which it can be said that his negotiation of an agreement to be paid a handsome reward for his part in procuring the release of the painting amounts to extortion.
"It might be quite different if he himself had possession of the painting or it was within his control; but that is not what is presently averred either by the pursuer or even by the defender.
"As matters stand, I do not accept that the pursuer's case is bound to fail on grounds of illegality or public policy."

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Duke could be sued over Drumlanrig da Vinci theft


The Duke of Buccleuch faces a claim over return of the art work to Drumlanrig Castle. Picture: Ian Rutherford
The Duke of Buccleuch faces a claim over return of the art work to Drumlanrig Castle. Picture: Ian Rutherford
A JUDGE has cleared the way for a bid to sue the Duke of ­Buccleuch for £4.25 million over the return of a stolen Leonardo da Vinci painting.
Marshall Ronald, 57, is seeking a payout from the UK’s largest private landowner following the recovery of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder, which was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle, Dumfriesshire, in 2003.
Former solicitor Mr Ronald claims he was commissioned to ensure the painting was handed over.
He was at the offices of a Glasgow law firm along with others – including undercover police officer John Craig, posing as a risk-management expert – in 2007 when the masterpiece was returned after four years. Mr ­Ronald, of Upholland, Lancashire, was cleared, with others, of a conspiracy to extort money for the safe return of the masterpiece at a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in 2010.
He claims he was put in touch with undercover officers and on 29 August 2007 he and Mr Craig entered into an agreement which would see the duke pay him £2m to secure the painting. The figure increased to £4.25m a few days later, it is claimed.
Mr Ronald claims that was less than 10 per cent of the value of the painting.
He said he knew the painting was stolen but did not know by whom.
Mr Ronald said he was in contact with intermediaries and agreed to pay them £700,000 to secure the art work’s release. He claims he paid over £500,000.
The duke maintains that undercover officer Mr Craig had no authority to make an agreement on his behalf.
It is also alleged the agreement Mr Ronald seeks to rely on is “unenforceable as being illegal and contrary to public policy”.
Lawyers acting for the duke sought to have the action dismissed at a procedural hearing before Lord Glennie. Andrew Young QC said: “Properly viewed, what the pursuer [Mr Ronald] is averring is an attempt to extort a sum of money.”
Mr Ronald said he had acted in good faith and told the court: “I don’t accept any illegal acts.”
Lord Glennie said he would not dismiss the case.
He said: “It is by no means impossible to conceive of a case where, as part of a police operation to recover a painting, a reward is offered to someone who may be in a position to facilitate its recovery, and the reward is paid to that person when the painting is in fact recovered.”
He added: “The best that can be said is that he was in a position in which he had the opportunity, through others, to pay money in the hope of procuring its release.
“If this is the true picture, I 
can see no basis upon which it can be said negotiation of an agreement to be paid a handsome reward amounts to extortion.
“It might be quite different if he himself had possession of the painting or it was within his control; but that is not what is presently averred.
“As matters stand, I do not accept that the pursuer’s case is bound to fail.”
Mr Ronald is expected to continue with the case.


 COURT OF SESSION
[2014] CSOH 101
A460/12
OPINION OF LORD GLENNIE
in the cause
MARSHALL NEIL CRAIG RONALD
Pursuer;
against
THE DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH
Defender:
________________


 COURT OF SESSION
[2014] CSOH 101
A460/12
OPINION OF LORD GLENNIE
in the cause
MARSHALL NEIL CRAIG RONALD
Pursuer;
against
THE DUKE OF BUCCLEUCH
Defender:
________________


 Pursuer: Party
Defender: A Young, QC; Anderson Strathern LLP
19 June 2014
Introduction
[1] On 27 August 2003 a valuable painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, known as “Madonna of the Yarnwinder”, owned by the ninth Duke of Buccleuch, was stolen from his home at Drumlanrig Castle.
[2] A criminal investigation was launched together with attempts by the police, insurers and others to recover the painting. This was known as “Operation Drumlanrig”. The operation involved the use of undercover police officers, including one who posed as a risk management expert under the assumed name “John Craig”. It is alleged by the pursuer that the defender, who became the tenth 2

Duke of Buccleuch on his father’s death early in September 2007, participated to some extent in this operation, by holding one or more telephone conversations with one of the then suspects, by preparing written documentation showing a willingness to pay monies in exchange for the safe return of the painting and, of particular relevance for present purposes, by providing an undated written letter of authority, addressed “To whom it may concern”, confirming that John Craig acted as his agent in the recovery of the painting and expressly authorising John Craig on his behalf to conduct any lawful negotiation or transaction in relation to the matter.
[3] The pursuer avers that on 10 August 2007 he wrote to the loss adjuster offering to facilitate the return of the painting. After contacting the senior investigating officer, the loss adjuster put him in touch with the undercover officers. On 21 August 2007 John Craig contacted the pursuer, stating that he was acting on the defender’s behalf. On 29 August 2007 the pursuer and John Craig entered into an agreement whereby the defender would pay him £2 million to secure the return of the painting. A few days later, this figure was increased to £4.25 million. That is said by the pursuer to be less than 10% of the value of the painting.
[4] The pursuer admits that, at the time of that agreement, he knew that the painting was stolen. He says that it was being held by persons whose identities were not known to him. He was in contact with two intermediaries, RG and JD, who were in contact with those in possession of the painting, and had agreed to pay them £700,000 to enable them to secure the release of the painting to them.
[5] The pursuer avers that, on 3 October 2007, he paid £500,000, being part of that £700,000, to RG. RG handed over that money at a pre-arranged location and later that day was advised of the whereabouts of the painting. That evening RG informed 3

the pursuer that the painting had been safely recovered and that he was proceeding with it to Glasgow. The pursuer notified John Craig, using the phrase: “the Lady is coming home”. On the next day, 4 October 2007, the pursuer attended at the offices of an Edinburgh firm of solicitors where he met, amongst others, John Craig. RG and JD arrived at about 11 am and handed over the painting.
[6] The reward of £4.25 million has not been paid to the pursuer. A number of criminal prosecutions followed the recovery of the painting. In particular, the pursuer was charged with extortion, or attempted extortion. He was indicted in the High Court and the case went to trial. The jury brought in a verdict of not proven and the pursuer was acquitted.
The pursuer’s case
[7] The pursuer sues for the sum of £4.25 million. His case is simple. That was the sum agreed to be paid to him for his part in securing the return of the painting. The agreement was made by John Craig acting on behalf of the defender. John Craig had actual authority from the defender to make that agreement, as evidenced in particular by the “To whom it may concern” letter. Having been instrumental in securing the return of the painting, he is entitled to be paid the agreed sum.
The defender’s case
[8] The defender advances two main lines of defence to the claim. The first is that John Craig had no actual authority to enter into any such agreement on his behalf. The second is that the agreement relied upon by the pursuer in support of his claim is tainted by illegality and/or is contrary to public policy and should not be 4

enforced. I shall explain what is said by the defender in more detail below. But it is to be noted that the defender does not make any case in these proceedings that the pursuer was in any way involved in the theft of the painting or its retention pending its recovery.
Discussion on the Procedure Roll
[9] The case came before me for discussion on the Procedure Roll. The defender insisted on his first plea in law, a general plea to relevancy and specification. He sought dismissal of the action.
[10] The discussion was conducted under reference to the well-known principles set out in Jamieson v Jamieson 1952 SC (HL) 44, to the effect that the pursuer’s case will only be dismissed if the court is satisfied that the action is bound to fail even if he succeeds in proving everything which he offers in his pleadings to prove. However, the defender’s argument was somewhat unusual in that it sought to gain support from averments made in the answers and from the fact that, as he contended, the pursuer’s averments in response were lacking in candour.
[11] I propose to deal separately with the arguments concerning lack of authority and illegality.
Lack of actual authority
[12] The defender’s case in summary is this. The “To whom it may concern” letter was written by the defender on the instructions of the police as part of their undercover operation in order to deceive the pursuer, and possibly others, into believing that John Craig was his agent when in fact he had no actual authority to 5

agree any deal which would bind him. In those circumstances, he says, it is clear that the letter did not in fact clothe John Craig with authority to act on his behalf. He avers that the pursuer knows this to be the case, because it was made clear in the evidence led by the Crown at his trial. This is set out in the answers, and is met by a bald “Not known and not admitted”. That response is lacking in candour and should be disregarded. In consequence, the defender’s averments on this point should be treated as admitted. Furthermore, it is inherently improbable that John Craig, a serving police officer, would undertake a dual role, acting both as a law enforcement officer and also as a private commercial agent for a member of the public. It would require very detailed and specific averments by the pursuer to explain how such an unusual and potentially contradictory arrangement could arise, but the pursuer makes no such averments. In those circumstances it is clear that the pursuer’s case on actual authority must inevitably fail.
[13] I cannot accept this argument, for three main reasons. First, I accept that there have been cases where a lack of candour in the defender’s answers has been held to be a basis for treating those answers as irrelevant and granting decree de plano, and I would accept that the same approach could, if valid, be adopted mutatis mutandis in respect of a lack of candour in the pursuer’s pleadings. But that approach has not generally found favour; and I do not consider that in general it is legitimate to treat a denial or non-admission, however bald, as amounting to an admission. Generally a party is entitled to put the other party to proof of his averments. The problem of dilatory defences, defences designed simply to delay by not admitting what must obviously be known to be true, is well-known. That was the reason why the provisions for summary decree were introduced in Rule of 6

Court 21: see Henderson v 3052775 Nova Scotia Ltd 2006 SC (HL) 85 per Lord Rodger of Earlsferry at para [13]. But the rules for summary decree apply only to the case of a pursuer moving for decree on his claim and that of a defender moving for decree on his counterclaim. They do not apply to a defender seeking dismissal of a claim made against him. There is no “reverse summary decree”. This may be a gap in the rules which ought to be addressed, but that is not for me. In that situation, where the Rules of Court have been altered to provide an answer to the problem caused by a lack of candour in a party’s pleadings, but those rules do not apply to the present case, I do not consider that it would be proper to seek to plug that gap by holding that decree of dismissal is available where a pursuer fails candidly to answer averments made by the defender in his answers.
[14] My second reason for rejecting this argument is straightforward. The defender’s case is based upon evidence which will be called by the defender and which is similar in nature to that called by the Crown in the criminal trial. The pursuer is under no obligation to accept that evidence as true. He is entitled to put the defender to proof. This is not a case where his denial or non-admission is of something within his own knowledge which he knows or must know to be true. Just because he knows that that evidence will be called, and just because he may not have a positive case to advance in answer to it, does not mean that he has to accept it. In the circumstances of the present case it is perfectly proper to answer the defender’s averments relating to the police operation, the circumstances in which the letter came to be written and the alleged intention of those who were party to it with a simple “not known and not admitted”. 7

[15] My third reason for rejecting the defender’s argument on this issue is equally straightforward. It is, to my mind, by no means obvious that the fact, assuming it to be a fact, that the “To whom it may concern” letter was written by the defender on the instructions of the police as part of the police operation to recover the painting necessarily means that it is not to be taken at face value. It is by no means impossible to conceive of a case where, as part of a police operation to recover a painting, a reward is offered to someone who may be in a position to facilitate its recovery, and the reward is paid to that person when the painting is in fact recovered. If, in all such cases, the offer of a reward is to be regarded as a pretence, because made without the authority of those on whose behalf it was purportedly made, then I doubt whether it would often lead to the recovery of a stolen painting. I accept that it is no doubt also possible to conceive of a situation where the offer of a reward is not intended to be genuine, and the letter granting authority to the intermediary to make that offer on behalf of the owner of the painting is indeed intended as a sham. Much will depend upon the precise circumstances and the intentions of the parties as revealed by the evidence. Even if the pursuer were to be taken to have admitted everything in the defender’s pleadings about the offer having been made as part of the police undercover operation, that would not necessarily mean that his case must fail. Although the burden of proof lies on the pursuer to establish that the agreement under which he sues was made with the authority of the defender, the evidential burden of showing that the letter purporting to have given John Craig authority to make that agreement on behalf of the defender is not to be taken at face value lies with the defender. 8

[16] I should add this, in case it may be thought that the existence of the “To whom it may concern” letter gives rise to a case of ostensible authority and therefore makes the arguments about actual authority irrelevant. The pursuer does not in his pleadings advance any case of ostensible authority. So far as the letter is concerned, he only became aware of that at a much later date. So he cannot rely on that letter for any representation made by the defender upon which he relied so as to give rise to a contention that at the time the agreement was made John Craig had ostensible authority to act on behalf of the defender. Whether he could rely upon any other representation made to him by John Craig as giving rise to ostensible authority is not a matter before me, and, as I have said, there are no pleadings raising such a case.
Illegality/ public policy
[17] The defender’s second line of defence is that the agreement upon which the pursuer sues is illegal and contrary to public policy. A number of arguments were advanced.
[18] It was said that it would be contrary to public policy to render a party liable on a contract which was purportedly entered into by him as a ruse on the part of an undercover police officer in order to recover stolen property. I cannot accept that, at this stage at least. Assuming the contract to have been made with the authority of the defender, an issue which will have to be resolved at proof, I can see nothing in the fact that on the defender’s part it was entered into as part of the police undercover operation and as a ruse to recover stolen property which would make enforcement of it contrary to public policy. 9

[19] It was also argued that the pursuer cannot seek to enforce a contract which would result in him receiving many millions of pounds for the return of a stolen painting which was secured from criminal sources for £500,000. I cannot see why not. It is not for this court to determine what a person may be willing to pay, or should be allowed to pay, to recover property which is of a particular monetary or sentimental value. That would be to remake the bargain struck between the parties. How is the court to judge what would be an appropriate reward to the pursuer for his part in the recovery of the painting?
[20] It was also suggested that other adminicles of evidence might be relevant. For example, there are averments that the pursuer did not want the police involved. But I cannot see why this should necessarily make any difference. There may be many reasons, some more respectable than others, why a person seeking to assist in the recovery of stolen painting should think it sensible to involve the police.
[21] In developing his argument on behalf of the defender, Mr Young QC focused on the submission that what the pursuer was seeking to do amounted to extortion. He submitted, under reference to Black v Carmichael 1992 SCCR 709 at 717A-B and 718B-C, that it is the crime of extortion in Scotland if a person seeks to obtain money from the rightful owner of property in order to release or return that property to its rightful owner. He submitted that, on his own averments, the pursuer knew that the painting had been stolen and that the possessors of it had no legal right to retain it. On that basis, he submitted, the pursuer had no legal right to retain or deal with the property, and his actions were no different in law from the unknown persons who only released the stolen painting in return for £500,000. That amounted to extortion. 10

[22] I do not accept this argument. It is, to my mind, a fallacy to equate the position of the pursuer with that of a person who is in possession of the stolen property and refuses to return it except upon payment of a large sum of money. That might well be extortion. But the position as shown on the pursuer’s pleadings is quite different. On his pleadings the agreement was made at a time when he was not in possession of the stolen painting and did not know who was. He had ascertained that certain others, JD and RG, were in a position to contact the people who held the painting and to procure its release to them upon payment of a sum of money. On this account the pursuer neither had the painting in his possession nor had the power to procure its release. The best that can be said is that he was in a position in which he had the opportunity, through others, to pay money in the hope of procuring its release. If this is the true picture, I can see no basis upon which it can be said that his negotiation of an agreement to be paid a handsome reward for his part in procuring the release of the painting amounts to extortion. It might be quite different if he himself had possession of the painting or it was within his control; but that is not what is presently averred either by the pursuer or even by the defender.
[23] One additional point made by the defender was that the pursuer, who was a solicitor at the time, funded the payment to RG by illegally removing monies from various client accounts, as a consequence of which he was struck off. Mr Young QC confirmed to me that he did not seek to rely upon this as a separate ground of illegality making the agreement unenforceable. It was put forward, as I understand it, in conjunction with other matters such as the request that the police should not be involved, essentially to present a picture of dishonest dealing by the pursuer colouring his whole involvement in the matter. I do not consider that it is of any 11

assistance, at least at this stage. The defender makes no averment that the pursuer was involved in the theft or was a party to the withholding of the painting thereafter. If such an allegation were made and proved, that would put a very different gloss on the whole matter.
[24] As matters stand, I do not accept that the pursuer’s case is bound to fail on grounds of illegality or public policy.
Disposal
[25] For these reasons, I shall allow a proof before answer, leaving the defender’s preliminary plea outstanding. I shall reserve all questions of expenses
Da Vinci Madonna Take-Two

GOLD SWAGGER: Police Swoop at Edinburgh law firm sparks legal fight by Chief Constable for ownership of £1Million ancient gold crown

Top cop goes for gold after top prosecutor dropped case. A POLICE STING culminating in arrests of persons negotiating the sale of a 2,500 year old gold crown at the premises of Edinburgh law firm Balfour & Manson has led to a court fight involving Chief Constable Sir Stephen House of Police Scotland who wants to establish ownership of the ancient relic. The increasingly political case, heard by judge Lord Brailsford comes even though the Lord Advocate dropped any prosecution against the Turkish cafe owner who claims ownership of the gold artefact and is adamant the item is a family heirloom.
Chief Constable House has hired private law firm Morton Fraser to pursue the case at taxpayers expense, in an effort - legal experts say appears to be solely focused on handing back the treasure to the Turkish Government - even though Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland ordered the item returned to Murat Aksukalli after all charges relating to the swoop on the lawyer’s office in 2010 were dropped.
AND. in spite of attempts by vested interests to hinder public access to information of the court case, a Fife based transparency campaigner & amateur historian - Tom Minogue, has identified the wreath as one looted from a Greek tomb by the Earl of Elgin, famous for the Elgin Marbles. Mr Minogue has submitted evidence to the court and has written about it on his website here: The Gold Wreath riddle
The Scottish Sun newspaper published a highly detailed investigation into the affair:
CROWNED OFF: Cops nab Turk selling £1M relic, Legal fight for Golden Treasure : Ancient Trinket was looted from Tomb
EXCLUSIVE By RUSSELL FINDLAY Investigations Editor Scottish Sun 15 June 2014
UNDERCOVER detectives nabbed a Turkish cafe boss as he tried to sell them a 2,500-year-old gold crown — worth a staggering £1million. Murat Aksakalli claimed the stunning ancient relic had been left to him by his grandfather.
But police believe the precious artefact known as the Edinburgh Crown was looted from Turkey and should be returned. They launched a sting operation and Aksakalli was held as he tried to flog the intricate decorative wreath at a lawyers office in Edinburgh.
A source said they could make a movie out of this and call it Indiana Jones and the Edinburgh Crown. "Its an incredible saga involving a Turkish wheeler dealer, an undercover police sting, the chief constable and the Lord Advocate. The crown is now being held at Police Scotland's Edinburgh HQ as a legal battle is fought over its future.
A Turkish government report claims the treasure may have been plundered from a tomb in the ancient city of Milas between 2000 and 2010.
But 50 year old Aksakalli insists he inherited the controversial antiquity from his grandfather Fazil Aksakalli who died in rural Cemisgezek. And he claims he can prove he had the relic before the ancient tomb was raided.
He said: "I kept it tor years and forgot about it" "The police said that I went to Turkey in 2010 and just started digging and found it"
His lawyer Aamer Anwar added "Just because the Turkish Government say anything remotely connected to them belongs to them doesn't mean that's right in our legal system"
Aksakalli decided to sell the beautifully crafted crown when his cash and carry company hit financial problems. And two of his business associates Ali Sanal and Hakki Ozbey also helped in the attempt to find a buyer. They approached experts at posh auction houses Sotheby's and Bonhams in Edinburgh.
And Aksakalll claims that a police officer friend of his, Lawson Porter also spoke to the National Museum of Scotland about the ancient head decoration on his behalf.
But their activity caught the attention of the now defunct Serious Organised Crime Agency and an undercover cop was deployed in a sting operation. The officer going under the name Ahmed Shakur met Aksakalli it the Hilton and Marriot hotels in Edinburgh and asked to see the crown.
A third meeting was then arranged at the office of bluechip law firm Balfour & Manson in October 2010. Police swooped on the talks in in the city centre and Aksakalli, Sanal and Ozbey were held and the crown taken by detectives.
One source revealed "The official valuation for the purpose of the court action is £225,000 but the true value is thought to be £1million". "It's become known as the Edinburgh Crown because it was found in the capital".
There is no suggestion Balfour-Manson were involved in any wrongdoing. Following the raid Turkish embassy officials met with Detective Superintendent David Gordon and Lindsay Miller, head of the Crown Office 's organised crime division. They claimed the valuable object belonged to their country and demanded its return.
In December 2012, Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland decided there would be no criminal proceedings against Aksakalli. But months later he agreed to send the crown to Turkey for seven days to undergo forensic analysis. An expert there concluded that the ornate metal wreath - which his decorated with 50 myrtle leaves and flowers - probably came from a Milas tomb and dated to around 350BC.
But in another twist, an amateur historical claims the golden crown may have been looted from Greece in the 19th century by the Earl of Elgin - famous for taking the sculptures from the Parthenon in Athens now known as the Elgin Marbles. Campaigner Tom Minogue found Elgin had bragged about discovering a golden wreath matching the description of the disputed relic seized in Edinburgh,
He has now joined the legal battle being fought over the crown, claiming it could be the same ancient artefact which was mentioned by Elgin. And he is demanding that the experts in Greece be allowed to examine the antiquity as well - just like the Turkish have already done.
Retired engineering businessman Tom said "There seems to have been a rush to judgement by the Police and the Lord Advocate who determined that a gold wreath was Turkish for no other reason than because the person in possession of it said so and happened to be a UK national of Turkish birth.
"There was no claim of any such gold wreath having been plundered from Turkey other than an unspecified generalisation. "This airy-fairy reasoning by the Turks has caused the Scottish authorities to send the gold wreath to Turkey, during which the Turks were allowed to do anything with it as they wished, without hinderance".
"The question of ownership of the golf wreath should be dealt with in an open, fair and unbiased manner, recognising the fact that Greece, the country that taught the world the meaning of democracy, deserves equal treatment to Turkey in the eyes of the law"
Last night Police Scotland confirmed the crown was still being held while the legal battle over its future continues. A spokesman said: "This item was seized in 2013 during a police operation at business premises in Edinburgh. "It is being held until ownership can be determined by the court"
RIDDLE OF LOST ROYAL WREATH
By Russell Findlay
THE intricate golden artefact dubbed the Edinburgh Crown is thought to date from around 35OBC. It features thin branches wound around a wreath with around 50 deli­cate myrtle leaves and rosettes.
The relic is crafted from 98 to 99.5 per cent pure ancient gold and would have been placed in a tomb in either Greece or Turkey. And experts believe the treasure could be worth up to £1 million.
The Edinburgh Crown is very similar to one unearthed in the Piraeus in Athens by the Earl of Elgin in the 19th century.His discovery was recorded in a book about the aristocrat’s travels in Greece.
Elgin presented to parliament a list of the items that he had removed from the country.But missing from this list in 1811 was the gold wreath. The Earl speculated that the crown may have come from a site known as the tomb of Aspasia.
HISTORY & MYSTERIES 350BC Gold crown is buried in royal tomb in Greece or Turkey.
1816 Lord Elgin sells Greek artefacts to the UK but a gold wreath he discovered is missing. 1982 Aksakalli claims he inherits gold wreath from grandfather. 1989 He moves from Turkey to Scotland and claims he later brings over the treasure. 2000-2010 Looting takes place at archaeological ruins in ancient Milas, Turkey 2004 Campaigner Tom Minogue urges Fife Police to probe items taken from Greece by Elgin, including a gold wreath. 2007 Aksakalli begins exploring attempts to sell the crown. SEPT 2010 He meets potential buyer who is actually an undercover cop. OCT 2010 Aksakalli is arrested. 2011 Scots police and prosecutors meet Turkish officials. 2012 Lord Advocate drops case against Aksakalli. MAR 2013 Crown sent to Turkey for analysis, then returned. MAR 2014 Police go to court to try to legally obtain wreath and hand it to Turkey. APRIL 2014 Minogue lodges legal claim that crown may be the one taken by Elgin.
CHIEF CONSTABLE IN COURT:
Top Cop goes for gold. Redacted documents relating to the civil action raised by the Chief Constable of Police Scotland over the gold wreath have now been released by the Scottish Courts.
The Chief Constable’s pleadings in court revealed: “In or around July 2010 Lothian and Borders Police received information that two men were believed to be in possession of a stolen golden wreath of Turkish origin and were attempting to sell it. On 5 October 2010 the first defender, along with Ali Sanal and Hakki Ozbey, was detained at the offices of Balfour & Manson, solicitors, 54-66 Frederick Street, Edinburgh on suspicion of reset. The three suspects were in possession of the fund in medio and were attempting to secure its sale. All three are Turkish nationals.”
“At interview the first defender asserted ownership of the fund in medio. The first defender and said Sanal and Ozbey were released without charge pending further inquiries. A report was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal. The pursuer retained possession of the fund in medio on the instructions of the Procurator Fiscal.”
“On 27 December 2012 the Lord Advocate instructed that no criminal proceedings would be taken against the first defender, or any other person, in respect of the fund in medio due to an insufficiency of evidence. The Lord Advocate instructed that the fund in medio should be returned to its owner.”

20 comments:

Anonymous said...
Does it not strike you as odd that the Law Society of Scotland's own lawyer Balfour & Manson are named as being involved in this?

Strange?
Anonymous said...
Blimey! What is it with Edinburgh.
Their legal shenanigans are truly unique.
Anonymous said...
If the Police are so sure of this crown's origin then why are the Crown Office Civil Recovery Unit not leading the case instead of Morton Fraser.

Police Chief hiring private lawyers to pursue private property after the Crown say it should be returned to owner sets a dangerous precedence.
Anonymous said...
“On 27 December 2012 the Lord Advocate instructed that no criminal proceedings would be taken against the first defender, or any other person, in respect of the fund in medio due to an insufficiency of evidence. The Lord Advocate instructed that the fund in medio should be returned to its owner.”

So why wasnt it returned after this?

Dont like the way this is going anyone else smell something in the background?
Anonymous said...
Watch out for a stray bullet
Anonymous said...
and let that be a lesson to anyone fool enough to do business in the offices of Scottish law firms
Anonymous said...
All the high heid yins including the judges will be trying it on for size
Anonymous said...
Looks like a lot of effort just to go to for an antique so what else is going on we are not being told about?
Anonymous said...
This sounds highly suspicious
Anonymous said...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/south_of_scotland/8607994.stm has the same ring to it
Anonymous said...
Anonymous said...

and let that be a lesson to anyone fool enough to do business in the offices of Scottish law firms

18 June 2014 17:12

Amen to that!
Anonymous said...
Anonymous said...
All the high heid yins including the judges will be trying it on for size

18 June 2014 20:24
ddddddddddddddddddd

Does my bum look big in this?
Anonymous said...
Totally bonkers the crown was sent to Turkey when it should have stayed in Scotland and had tests done here.

There is clearly something going on in the background here.Political double dealing and handshakes between Edinburgh and Turkey.
Anonymous said...
Something very dodgy going on here no wonder they wanted to keep it quiet
Anonymous said...
Anonymous said...

If the Police are so sure of this crown's origin then why are the Crown Office Civil Recovery Unit not leading the case instead of Morton Fraser.

Police Chief hiring private lawyers to pursue private property after the Crown say it should be returned to owner sets a dangerous precedence.

18 June 2014 15:36

Nothing is safe (if its genuinely yours or not) if someone in the justice system has decided they want it off you.

Just ask the sheriff clerk who ended up with a £350,000 4 bedroom house for £70,000 out of a bogus sequestration signed off by his local sheriff.
Anonymous said...
The show me the money brigade, squabbling over the spoils of someone else's property?
Anonymous said...
and compare the way this is going what Lord Glennie said in the davinci payout case today!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-27922530

Da Vinci accused Marshall Ronald's payout bid proceeds

A judge has rejected a move to dismiss a bid to sue the Duke of Buccleuch for £4.25m over the return of a stolen Leonardo da Vinci painting.

Marshall Ronald, 57, is seeking the payout following the recovery of the Madonna of the Yarnwinder.

He was cleared in 2010 of conspiring to extort money for its return.

Lawyers for the duke described the bid to sue as "an attempt to extort a sum of money" but a judge decided it should go to a hearing of evidence.

Mr Ronald, of Upholland, Lancashire, was acquitted with others of a conspiracy to extort money for the safe return of the masterpiece at a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh in 2010.

The valuable artwork had been stolen from the Duke of Buccleuch's Drumlanrig Castle seven years earlier.

After the court case, Mr Ronald raised an action claiming that he was due payment for the return of the painting which was recovered in 2007.

At first he was suing both the duke and the police but dropped his claim against the police last year.

The duke is contesting his claims and his lawyers moved to dismiss the action.

They say the agreement Mr Ronald is seeking to rely on is "unenforceable as being illegal and contrary to public policy".

However, Lord Glennie said that it was "by no means obvious" that a "to whom it may concern" letter written as part of a police undercover operation was not meant to be taken at face value.

"It is by no means impossible to conceive of a case where, as part of a police operation to recover a painting, a reward is offered to someone who may be in a position to facilitate its recovery, and the reward is paid to that person when the painting is in fact recovered," he said.

"I accept that it is no doubt also possible to conceive of a situation where the offer of a reward is not intended to be genuine, and the letter granting authority to the intermediary to make that offer on behalf of the owner of the painting is indeed intended as a sham."

He added that on Mr Ronald's pleadings in the action it was alleged that the agreement was made at a time when he was not in possession of the stolen painting and did not know who had it.

"The best that can be said is that he was in a position in which he had the opportunity, through others, to pay money in the hope of procuring its release," he said.

"If this is the true picture, I can see no basis upon which it can be said that his negotiation of an agreement to be paid a handsome reward for his part in procuring the release of the painting amounts to extortion.

"It might be quite different if he himself had possession of the painting or it was within his control; but that is not what is presently averred either by the pursuer or even by the defender.

"As matters stand, I do not accept that the pursuer's case is bound to fail on grounds of illegality or public policy."
Anonymous said...
This stinks, and so do Balfour and Manson - a firm to steer clear of believe me, I know.
Diary of Injustice said...
@19 June 2014 12:58

Good point ... and there are a few Sheriff Clerks & higher who fit the terms of your comment ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These two cases are going to rebound badly upon police Scotland. Transparency is an alien concept to the police. post Hillsborough it is time for a change.