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Mossack Fonseca’s role in fight over painting stolen by Nazis

Panama Papers highlight offshore law firm’s part in contested claim by heir of alleged former owner of Modigliani piece.

Seated Man With a Cane by Modigliani disappeared after its original owner had to leave it in Paris when he fled the Nazis,   descendent says.

 

 

Mossack Fonseca helped a New York art gallery defend itself over a claim about a Nazi-looted artwork after the apparent original owner’s descendant launched a legal battle for its return, the Panama Papers reveal. The case involves a $25m (£18m) Modigliani painting taken from Paris when the Germans marched into the city in 1940 and the role played by Mossack Fonseca, as the family who say it is theirs fought for its return. The artwork in question is the 1918 Seated Man With a Cane, and the story of its theft and reemergence blends the injustice of treasures taken during the second world war with the smoke and mirrors of 21st-century offshore tax havens.

Oscar Stettiner. Photograph: unknown The descendant claims the painting was owned by Oscar Stettiner, a Jewish gallery owner in Paris who fled weeks before the Nazis entered the city. He managed to get his wife and children to the Dordogne but had to leave his collection behind. The artwork was seized by the Nazis, and by the time the Stettiners are thought to have started searching for it after the war the painting had vanished.

Read the full story at The Guardian 

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