2018-06-05 18:16:00

Investigators estimate price of icons, which weren't returned to Russia from U.S., at about 26 mln rubles

Moscow, June 5, Interfax - Charges in the case of the failure to return the cultural property to Russia were brought against Yelena Knyazeva, former director of Moscow's private Museum of Russian Icons, in addition to Gordon Lankton, owner of the U.S.'s private museum of the same name, who had been arrested in absentia on Monday, an informed source told Interfax on Tuesday.

"The criminal case against Knyazeva was treated as a separate one and forwarded to the court in May [2017], and the court returned the case to the prosecutor's office in order to remove obstacles to its consideration in December," the source said.

Lankton and Knyazeva are charged with taking 16 icons out of Russia to the United States to display them at the exhibition dubbed 'From Russia with Love' at the private Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts, in the period from October 2009 to October 2014. According to investigators, experts estimated the total cost of icons, which were taken out of the country, at about 26 million rubles.

The Orthodox Christian icons, which are cultural property and heritage of the Russian nation, were loaned to the Moscow museum from private collections in order to be exhibited in the United States, the source said.

The cultural property taken out of the country includes icons of St. Nicholas, Matthew the Apostle, the Resurrection of Christ, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin, the Savior Not Made by Hands, and others.