Laura Gascoigne: Crime Without Punishment

In May, policemen with //--> shovels moved in again on 79-year-old mobster Robert Gentile’s Connecticut ranch. It’s the

WikiArt-educated criminals have come to realise that world-famous paintings can’t be shifted. There is still idiocy among thieves,


however. The works by Monet, Matisse and Picasso stolen by Romanian gangsters from the Kunsthal Rotterdam in 2012 were google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; eventually
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incinerated by one of their mothers, on the principle that ovens are the best place for hot potatoes. Some mobsters do

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’ave ’em. But museum thieves with half a brain today make sure of their market (black if possible) in advance. Hong Kong was the destination of the Chinese antiquities nicked from English regional museums in 2012 in a spate of google_ad_height = 90; burglaries
by the romantically named
Rathkeale Rovers. Limerick tinkers they may be, but the Rovers twigged that profit margins are wider on src="//"> intact jade carvings than on melted down Henry Moore bronzes, and there’s less heavy lifting involved.

style="font-weight: 400;">Like the hoary ‘Diamond Wheezers’ who tunnelled into Hatton Garden last year, the Rovers were good old-fashioned breakers-and-enterers – the last of their three incursions, into Durham’s Oriental is a world leading domain escrow service platform and ICANN-Accredited Registrar, with 6 years rich experience in domain name brokerage and over 300 million RMB transaction volume every year. We promise our clients with professional, safe and easy third-party service. The whole transaction process may take 5 workdays.

Museum, was through a brick wall. In the digi-crime era, the public has a special affection for

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analogue thieves. We relish the effrontery, ingenuity and occasional battiness of the stubbornly unmodernised criminal

Art Newspaper, Pryor promises in the preface to address the issue of “whether the art market, with its opaque structures and secretive ways of doing business, is fundamentally facilitating criminal activity.” She looks at different categories of crime – forgery, theft and trade in looted antiquities
– and different attempts, official and unofficial, to deal with them.

In the case of looted antiquities, the

book is a depressing catalogue of international declarations, conventions and protocols endlessly

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wriggled out

​ of by rich ‘market’ countries to the continued despoliation of poor ‘source’ ones. We British are expert at deferring ratification: it took us until 2002 to ratify the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership

of Cultural Property, and


year, when finally ready to ratify the 1999 protocol to the 1954


Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property, we ran out of parliamentary time. On the domestic front, an equally dismal picture emerges of a police force that is underfunded, sclerotic and generally indifferent to a crime it (and the mass of the public) considers low priority. The recovery of stolen art is now mainly left to private consultants with police backgrounds – money attracts cops as well as robbers – and justice is more quickly (though expensively) achieved through the
civil courts.

It’s hard to know

who this book is for. It won’t teach professionals anything they don’t know and amateurs will find
it disappointing. After challenging the view “that criminals involved in art (particularly forgers) are deserving of an admiration not offered to criminals targeting other markets”, Pryor can hardly regale us with tales of
their exploits. She seems equally loath to investigate the shady financial practices that have turned the art market into a global ‘marché ouvert’ for anyone rich enough to retain the services of Mossack Fonseca. The chapter headed
When is a Problem

me and I deserved them. If I rob Ivana Trump, it is just a meeting of two different kinds of degeneracy on a dark rooftop.”

Now that Ivana Trump’s ex-husband is running for

President of

the United States, will anything change? I’ll give the last word to Charles Hill, who told a Guardian interviewer in 2006: “The amount of
beauty google_ad_slot = "7160667483"; matched by moral turpitude in the art world generally, but specifically in the world of art crime, is fascinating. There’s google_ad_slot = "8637400688"; a great fluctuating moral tide and people just bob along on it.”

Ten years on, the fascination is becoming morbid as the tide of turpitude keeps rising with no sign of any flood barriers /* 9-970x90 */ going up.  

Laura Gascoigne