Billionaire found guilty of trying to smuggle Picasso painting from Spain

By natacha larnaud

/ CBS News

An 83-year-old Spanish billionaire has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for trying to smuggle a Picasso painting out of the country. Jaime Botin, part of the Santander banking dynasty, was convicted by a court in Madrid on Thursday and fined more than $58 million.

Though Botín owned the 1906 painting "Head of Young Woman," it is considered a national treasure and therefore it cannot leave Spain without permission.

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Seized painting "Head of a Young Woman" by Pablo Picasso. French Customs Office

The work, which is valued at $28 million, was discovered in 2015 on board the billionaire's luxury yacht off the French island of Corsica by French authorities.

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Prosecutors accused Botín of taking the painting out of the country despite a high court in 2015 having called the painting "unexportable." He was denied a permit to remove it from the country due to its historical and cultural value.

The judge ruled that the artwork would now be property of the Spanish state. It has been transferred to the warehouses of the Reina Sofía museum, according to Spanish newspaper El País.

Botín may appeal against his sentence and it is unlikely he'll be sent to jail because of his age and the fact that he doesn't have a criminal record, according to Reuters.

According to Forbes, Jaime Botín is the largest shareholder of Spanish bank Bankinter S.A. and a member of a storied Spanish banking family. His net worth is estimated to be $1.7 billion.

First published on January 17, 2020 / 11:55 AM

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