Facing charges of conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to conceal or disguise criminal property, Seed appeared before City of Westminster magistrates in a green jacket, blue checked shirt and jeans and spoke only to confirm his name, age, address and nationality.
His barrister, James Reilly, suggested he would deny the offences, saying: 'He works as a jeweller - he fashions jewellery. 
He had no knowledge or belief of involvement with the burglary.' Prosecutor Philip Stott said: 'The charges relate to the burglary of the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit company over Easter weekend in 2015.
'Mr Seed was arrested and inside [the] address was a large number of items of jewellery, precious stones and golden ingots. It's an amount consistent with Mr Seed having been involved in the burglary.
'There are covert audio recordings of others involved, describing the role of others in the team, who refer to [an accomplice] by the pseudonym Basil.'
Officers from Scotland Yard's Flying Squad raided Seed's flat in Islington this week
Officers from Scotland Yard's Flying Squad raided Seed's flat in Islington last week
Neighbours in the block of flats said Seed seemed like a nice man but was not well known
Neighbours in the block of flats said Seed seemed like a nice man but was not well known
There was no application for bail and after chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot remanded him in custody Seed, who had followed the proceedings attentively, smiled, nodded and bowed to the bench before being led away.
Later, on the Mersey Estate in Islington, rubber gloves and large bottles of chemicals could be seen in the kitchen of the small flat where he was arrested. 
Neighbours said Seed was a 'pleasant man' but suspected he was down on his luck because he wore the same clothes every day.
A caretaker on the estate said: 'He was Mr Invisible, Mr Anonymous, but he was very pleasant and would always say good morning.' 
Seed's father has been dead for some years while his 90-year-old mother still lives in Cambridge. He has three siblings. 
His aunt Kathleen Seed, 83, who lives in Nottingham, said: 'The thought of Michael being a bank robber is so remote, I would find that so highly unlikely.'
The hole the gang drilled through the wall of a vault beneath London's diamond quarter
The hole the gang drilled through the wall of a vault beneath London's diamond quarter
The scene inside the vault after the raid took place in over the Easter weekend three years ago
The scene inside the vault after the raid took place in over the Easter weekend three years ago

Art gallery ram-raid: No sign of paintings one year on

It's been a year since robbers ram raided an Auckland Auctioneers and fled with two valuable paintings by artist Gottfried Lindauer.
The 'Chieftainess Ngatai-Raure' and 'Chief Ngatai-Raure' (inset) were stolen from the International Art Centre in Parnell.
The 'Chieftainess Ngatai-Raure' and 'Chief Ngatai-Raure' (inset) were stolen from the International Art Centre in Parnell on 1 April last year. Photo: RNZ / Laura Tupou
However their whereabouts, and who exactly was behind the heist remain a mystery.
In the early hours of Saturday morning, 1 April last year, a window in the front of the International Art Gallery shattered as a car backed into the building.
Alarms went off but by the time people arrived two 1884 Gottfried Lindauer paintings known as Chieftainess Ngatai-Raure and Chief Ngatai-Raure were gone.
A year on the centre's director Richard Thomson said they were still no closer to finding them.
"There's no news about the paintings... For us it's still as big a mystery as it is to a lot of people."
It took several months for the $50,000 to $100,000 worth of damage to the building to be fully repaired and security measures have been ramped up.
They will be on show this week as works from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa's personal collection go up for auction, including three major paintings by Charles Frederick Goldie.
"There's a couple of really serious things that we've done that we've talked to the insurance company about.
"We've got 24 hour monitoring on foot, so after hours we've got an actual guard on at the moment until the auction is finished. The security is obviously quite high."
Mr Thomson said he believed the paintings hadn't left the country.
"A lot of people say 'oh they'll be overseas hanging on a wall in Shanghai or somewhere' but I really believe that's unlikely ... Everyone's speculating and who knows, they might just turn up. They could turn up in half an hour, they could turn up this time next year, we just don't know."
However, he said it wasn't something he'd like to dwell on.
"That's not how I live my life. The only person dwelling on that situation is the people that took them. They'll be living in fear and they'll have problems so their day will come."
Art historian and art crime expert Penelope Jackson said the art community was more aware now and it demonstrated to the country that New Zealand wasn't immune to these sorts of crimes.
"This terrible event had all the ingredients, all the sensational ingredients really, that you might get in a movie. Night time, smash and grab, highly valuable works and when I say valuable I mean not just monetary valuable but culturally valuable. That there were two get away vehicles etc."
While nothing is for certain, she said the paintings were more likely to still be in the country with their cultural significance and history meaning there's a bigger market for them here.
"New Zealand's too small, there'll be something that happens that will be a catalyst that will lead someone or the police to find those works."
She said many famous paintings have been found again in the past, in late 2016 two Vincent van Gogh paintings were found in Naples after being stolen from a public art museum in Amsterdam 14 years earlier.
Ms Jackson said many were worried about what condition they would be in if they did turn up.
"You've got paintings there that are 134 years old now so they're very vulnerable.
"They were moved quickly, there was broken glass involved, there was speeding vehicles, and if you think about how in an art museum context works are moved, you know not when the public are there, on cushioned trolleys, white gloves, lots of people, very carefully, very slowly, and this was the complete opposite."

Two Spaniards arrested over smuggling of artifacts looted by ISIS

Spanish police have arrested two men for allegedly smuggling pieces of art looted by groups affiliated with ISIS from sites in Libya.
Authorities there believe this to be the first ever police operation against the financing of terrorism through the looting of art.
The suspects, both 31-year-old Spanish nationals, are art experts who bought the pieces -- known in the market as "blood antiquities" -- to sell in their gallery, according to a police statement Wednesday that did not specify where the gallery was located. Police named them only as Mr. O.C.P and Mr. J.B.P.
Police recovered a number of artworks after searching five locations.
They were arrested in Barcelona for their "alleged participation in the crimes of financing terrorism, belonging to a criminal organization, trading in stolen goods, smuggling and forging documents."
The statement said that the suspects were part of a Catalonia-based network with international reach dedicated to the retail of artworks from territories controlled by groups affiliated to ISIS.
The two men used foreign intermediaries to acquire the artworks, and concealed the origin of the goods by dispatching them from Asia and different parts of the Middle East, police said.
After searching five locations, including storage facilities and the gallery where some looted pieces were on sale to the public, police recovered artworks including sculptures, mosaics and sarcophagi.
With the help of the Libyan authorities, police verified the authenticity of the pieces and traced their origin to the Apollonia and Cyrene archaeological sites in northern Libya, both of which have been looted by terrorist groups.
The recovered items included sculptures and mosaics.
Some of the recovered pieces showed imperfections such as bumps and dents that suggested they had been extracted from the ground violently and transported insecurely, police said.
Police believe the suspects carried out restoration work on the artworks in Spain in an attempt to disguise the damage.
Members of ISIS have destroyed or looted a number of ancient cultural treasures in Syria and Iraq, often posting videos of their vandalism online.
In 2015, the FBI asked art collectors and dealers to look out for antiquities that could have been put on the market by ISIS.
The warning came after "credible reports" that some Americans had been offered cultural items that seemed to have been taken from Syria and Iraq, according to a statement at the time from Bonnie Magness-Gardiner, who was then manager of the FBI's Art Theft Program.

Nazi-looted Cranach painting returned to rightful heirs to be sold at Christie’s Old Masters auction

An Old Master portrait missing for nearly 80 years has been returned to the heirs of Dutch banker and art collector Fritz Gutmann. They now plan to auction the picture with an estimate of $1m-2m.
'Portrait of John Frederick I, elector of Saxony' by Lucas Cranach the Elder measuring 24¾ x 15⅝ in (62.8 x 39.7 cm). Image from Christie's.
Lucas Cranach the Elder’s Portrait of John Frederick I, Elector of Saxony was last publicly displayed in Rotterdam in 1938.
Gutmann’s vast collection in his home to the west of Amsterdam was stolen by the Nazis in 1940, with many works acquired for Hitler and Goering. Gutmann and his wife Louise were arrested in 1943 and died in the camps of Theresienstadt and Auschwitz a year later.
But after its former owner acknowledged it had been stolen, Gutmann’s heirs, with the help of experts at Christie’s, negotiated its return.
The half-length oil on panel will now be offered at Christie’s Old Masters auction on April 19 in New York.
Simon Goodman, Fritz Gutmann’s grandson and owner of the Cranach painting, said: “I have spent years hunting for this marvellous painting. Among those pieces still missing from my grandfather’s collection, this was the piece I was the most doubtful of ever recovering. My family are thrilled by its discovery. We are also extremely grateful to the people who brought it forward and to Christie’s for facilitating its return.”
Monica Dugot, international director of restitution at Christie’s, said: “We hope that the reappearance of this painting demonstrates that with goodwill, perseverance and collaboration, amicable and fair solutions can be found in resolving complex restitution cases and losses due to Nazi persecution, even after so many years.”
The portrait, painted in the 1530s, depicts John Frederick I (1503-54), an electoral prince and head of the Schmalkaldic League of Germany - a defensive alliance formed by Protestant territories. John Frederick was an ardent supporter of Martin Luther and the Reformation, and is considered to be one of the founders of the University of Wittenberg.
He married Sibylle of Cleves in September 1526, whom Cranach also portrayed on numerous occasions. According to Christie’s, this painting is one of Cranach’s most refined depictions of John Frederick, who at the time of painting was the artist’s greatest patron and close friend.

Belgian Police Discover 84 Pages of Stolen Albert Uderzo Art in Forest

It feels something that might have actually happened in an Asterix comic, to be followed by a lot of dead wild boar. But it appears that Belgian police have discovered 84 stolen pieces of art by Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo, secreted in a forest. Or, rather, the town of Forest.

Eighty-four original drawings were found during a search of the town earlier this month. The art was reported stolen last year after being discovered being sold at auction in Belgium as part of what was called ‘The Rackham Collection’. But after the auction, the art — and the sellers — disappeared.
At the time, Uderzo said the pieces were either stolen, or lent out in 2012 and not returned. The owner of the auction house, Alain Huberty, while holding an investigation to determine the origin of the art pieces, stated that he knew the seller is honest, and that any statement from Uderzo that the art disappeared in 2012 is false. And the owner reported they had owned them for 30 years, and no police complaint has been filed.
But the gendarmes were on the hunt. And it was the French police who discovered their location, and worked with Belgian authorities to organise a raid within 24 hours.
Denis Goeman, spokesman for the Brussels prosecutor’s office, put the speed down to Getafix’s magic potion.
The stolen drawings are some of Uderzo’s earliest and predate Asterix, from the ’40s to the ’60s, including childhood drawings, he worked on the Captain Marvel Jr character and also Castagnac, a forerunner of Asterix.
The countries have different laws over art ownership, as a result of the theft of Jewish property during the Second World War. In France, owners of art are obliged to disclose how they acquired them, but not in Belgium. Uderzo describes Belgium as being “a little curious country for not having similar legislation,” which would have prevented the pages being put up for sale in the first place.
Asterix pages and covers regularly sell for six or seven figures, and while these artworks are worth less, in total they would be worth many millions.
No one has yet been charged or arrested and the French investigation continues.