Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Romanian court returns Goyas to Ceausescu heirs

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Heirs of Romania's communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu will get back art works, including engravings by Spanish master Francisco de Goya, that were seized by the state 19 years ago, a court ruled on Wednesday.

Ceausescu's fortune, never officially evaluated, was ordered confiscated by a military court which sentenced him and his wife Elena to death by firing squad on Christmas Day 1989, after they tried unsuccessfully to flee the revolution that toppled them.

The decision by the Bucharest Court of Appeals is final, Haralambie Voicilas, a lawyer representing Ceausescu's son Valentin, told Reuters.

"We eventually reached the right decision ... After years of court trials, property returns to the rightful owners."

He said the ruling covers 15 paintings, including by Romanian artists Nicolae Tonitza, Theodor Pallady and Gheorghe Petrascu, and two Goya engravings, kept by the National Arts Museum in a special warehouse.

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