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Briefly seized paintings return to Russia

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MOSCOW, Nov 23, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- A second truck carrying $1 billion in French paintings, briefly seized by Switzerland, returned to Moscow Wednesday, reports said.

Russia pulled its display of the works in the latest dispute with Swiss trading firm Noga, which earlier this month lost another round in its ongoing claim that Russia owes it more than $60 million from the early 1990s.

At Noga's request, a Swiss bankruptcy court ordered seizure of the 54 paintings that range from 17th century classical artists to 20th century cubists. Within hours, the government ordered the art be released.

Two trucks carrying the paintings from Martigny, Switzerland, returned to Moscow's Pushkin Fine Art Museum by Wednesday, the Interfax news agency reported.

All six trucks were expected by the end of the week, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

Earlier, the exhibit of works by artists such Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Vincent van Gogh toured the U.S. cities of Atlanta, Houston and Los Angeles, reported.


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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