Finland state

Finland to return $46 million worth of Russian art seized by customs officers, officials say

The shipments included paintings, statues and antiques.Photo by Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images

  • Finland will return seized Russian artwork worth around $46 million, Reuters reported.

  • Earlier this month, Finnish authorities seized three shipments being transported to Russia.

  • New legislation that will come into force on April 9 will allow coins to be released.

Finland to return multimillion-dollar art collection to Russia after Finnish customs officials seize three shipments of artwork, Reuters reported.

Finnish customs officers confirmed the news about the seizure earlier this week.

According to Bloombergthe pieces were sent back to Russia by museums in Italy and Japan, where they had been temporarily loaned.

The works of art were instead taken into custody by Finnish authorities to determine whether they could be classified as luxury goods. This made them vulnerable to economic sanctions imposed on Russia, following its invasion of Ukraine.

Reuters reported that legislative changes that exclude cultural artworks from seizure under European Union sanctions will come into force on April 9 when the Finnish Foreign Ministry authorizes customs officials to release the artwork from art.

Russian Culture Minister Olga Lyubimova confirmed that the pieces would return to Russia over the weekend, according to Reuters.

The shipments included paintings, statues and antiques. Bloomberg and Reuters reported they were worth $46 million, but Finnish Customs Enforcement Director Hannu Sinkkonen said they “cannot be valued, they are priceless”. local media based in China reported.

“Professionals have been consulted for the movement and storage of goods,” he said. “We are not going to open packages.”

According to the local outlet, the artworks sent back from Italy come from collections of some of Russia’s major art galleries, including the Hermitage Museum and the Tsarskoye Selo State Museum in St. Petersburg.

The other pieces returning from Japan apparently came from the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow.

Russia has been the target of foreign sanctions since it invaded Ukraine in an unprecedented attack. While the sanctions imposed by Western countries have targeted the Russian economy, they have also targeted Russia’s wealthiest people.

From yachts to private jets, many Russian oligarchs saw their luxury goods seized in the midst of the war. A sanctioned Russian oligarch would have broke down in tears on their inability to book private jets, while another said he did not know how to live after being hit by the sanctions.

Read the original article at Business Intern