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A Spanish banker has been sentenced to 18 months in jail and fined €51.7 million (approx. £44m) for attempting to smuggle a famous Picasso painting out of the country aboard a sailing yacht.
The ‘Head of a Young Woman’ painting, considered to be a national treasure, was confiscated from Jaime Botín’s yacht in Corsica, France, by police in 2015.
The 1906 piece - worth an estimated €26 million (£22m) - is one of the few painted by Picasso during his Gosol period, a precursor to Cubism.
Grandson of the Santander founder, Botín was the bank’s vice president until 2004.
Botín, 83, was made to forfeit the work. He may appeal against his sentence.
The banker, however, is unlikely to face jail time as first-time offenders for non-violent crimes in Spain are often spared prison if they receive sentences of less than two years.
Prosecutors have stated that Botín was planning to sell the Picasso at auction in London.
Botín, who bought the painting in 1977 in London, had previously been denied a permit.
He protested that he had the right to take it to Geneva for safekeeping, while his lawyers said that the state could not lay claim to the painting as it had only been in Spanish territory for six months since its purchase.
However, Botín was found guilty of ‘smuggling cultural goods’ for taking the painting ‘from national territory without a permit’.
The artwork is now property of the state and has been given to the Reina Sofia art museum in Madrid.
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