Investigators search top Russian museum in smuggling case

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MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's top investigative agency says it is conducting a search of Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery, considered the world's top collection of Russian fine art, in connection with an art smuggling case.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement Tuesday that the search comes after the arrest last week at Moscow's Vnukovo Airport of a man who was carrying five paintings whose removal from the country is prohibited or restricted. The statement said the total value of the paintings was 1.9 million rubles ($38,000) but that the suspect claimed they were worth about 10 percent of that.

The suspect was identified as the head of a neighborhood election commission and it was not stated if he had connections with the Tretyakov.

Museum officials declined comment to Russian news agencies.

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