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11 "Inept" Museum Officials Jailed in Egypt's $50-Million Museum Robbery

Oct. 12th, 2010 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment   
Arts & Culture: The theft of the $50-million-plus Van Gogh painting, "Poppy Flowers," from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo, has resulted in 11 museum officials receiving three-year jail sentences. The staffers have been convicted of negligence for apparent security blunders, which led to the aforementioned work of the Dutch artist being stolen in "broad daylight." None of the sentenced museum officials have been charged with the theft of the painting, which is valued at more than $50 million.

Egypt's deputy culture minister, Mohsen Shallan, is among the 11 sentenced. for being inept. China News Asia reported that only seven of the museum's 43 surveillance cameras were operating when the painting was cut from its frame. Additionally, many of the museums's security alarms were inactive, and that the number of security guards was less than normal on the day of the robbery. Furthermore, alarms for individual paintings also malfunctioned that dubious day.

The Mahmoud Khalil Museum also houses works by artisans the likes of Monet and Renoir. According to ArtInfo, the county's antiquities director, Zahi Hawass, vowed to improve improve security measures.

The robbery is reported to be an embarrassment to the Egyptian art world, as border and airport security have been increased substantially in an attempt to track down the missing Van Gogh work.

Source: ArtInfo

Photo Courtesy The Mahmoud Khalil Museum
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