The Russian Interior Ministry continues an inquiry into how Ivan Aivazovsky's painting 'Evening in Cairo' found itself in Britain, trying to track down those behind its theft from a private collection in Moscow 18 years ago, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Yelena Alexeyeva told Interfax.
"The Interior Ministry, in cooperation with international police agencies, continues a comprehensive inquiry to identify the channels through which 'Evening in Cairo' was sold and moved abroad, and to track down the suspects," she said.
Taking the actual situation into account, in order to resolve issues related to the repayment of the damages to the former owner, and by agreement between all the parties concerned, a decision was made to block the auction of this painting in Britain pending legal procedures.
The Russian Interior Ministry earlier urged colleagues in Britain to block the auction of Aivazovsky's 'Evening in Cairo'. The request was rejected by Sotheby's, however.
But on June 2 the painting was finally removed from the auction, Matthew Weigman, worldwide director of sales communications at Sotheby's, told Interfax on the same day. He said that Sotheby's itself had not found it necessary to block the auction, as the painting was not on the catalogue of stolen artifacts.
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