2018-06-05 18:14:00

Russian court arrests owner of U.S. museum of Russian icons in absentia, issues int'l arrest warrant

Moscow, June 5, Interfax - Moscow's Tverskoy District Court has sanctioned arrest in absentia of Gordon Lankton, the owner of a private U.S. museum of Russian icons, charged with the failure to return cultural objects to Russia on Monday.

"A restrictive measure in the form of arrest in absentia was imposed on the defendant at an investigator's motion," the court told Interfax.

Lankton was charged with the failure to return to Russia cultural objects, which were taken outside it, within an established deadline, when such return is mandatory in accordance with Russian legislation. The court placed him on an international wanted list.

If Russian law enforcement agencies are able to secure the collector's extradition and his guilt is proven at the court, he would be facing compulsory labor for up to five years or imprisonment for up to eight years with a fine up to 1 million rubles.

The court did not specify the nature of the charges.

However, it is most likely, the failure to return the Moscow Treasures exhibition, which was displayed in the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts, to Russia. In 2011, the museum said it was ready to return icons in advance.

Gordon Lankton founded the Museum of Russian Icons in 2006. His own collection of over than 400 icons is usually being exhibited there.