Moscow. March 11. INTERFAX.RU – the International Centre of the Roerichs (ICR) will appeal in court against the search procedures in its Museum and the withdrawal of works of art, the vice-president of the ICR Alexander Stetsenko informed Interfax.
“Unclear, why we are illegally tied to criminal case of Master-Bank, we are not involved in it. I suppose that somebody wants us to be involved in it as suspects. It is illegal. We will protest against this. ICR has no relation to accusations against Master-Bank. Very serious consultation with lawyers on the criminal case and study of this situation is needed. We will appeal against the actions of the investigation. We will study their theoretical bases and protect our rights. If required – in court”, – A. Stetsenko explained.
On March 7 search procedures were performed in the Museum, as the result of which more than 200 works of art were withdrawn. As a source in the Centre of the Roerichs informed Interfax, among them were nine pictures granted to the Museum by Boris Bulochnik who was the chairman of the board of Master-Bank.
“Paintings, that were granted to our Museum since the middle of the 1990-ies till 2000-ies, were also taken out, and they have absolutely no relation to the case which is investigated now (on fraud concerning the ex-chairman of the board of Master-Bank – IF). This criminal case has certain time limits – 2010-2013. How is it possible to claim that Boris Ilyich bought works of art on stolen money and donated them in 2002, 2003?”, – the vice-president of the ICR noticed.
According to A. Stetsenko, in 2014 the investigation recognized as the material evidence only nine pictures, presented by the ex-banker, on which the credit of Master-Bank was not paid, but at the search procedures also the pictures presented by other persons and also the originals of the donation documents were withdrawn. At the same time those, who performed the search procedures, also withdrew the copies of these documents.
Besides, A. Stetsenko noted that Svetoslav Roerich’s heirs by the Indian line, and also the government of India can demand to return his heritage from Russia.
“Svetoslav Nikolaevich was a citizen of India, and if the ICR not is recognized as the owner of the part of the heritage, that was transferred by Svetoslav Roerich from India to Russia, then the government of this country can tell that the heritage is located on the territory of Russia illegally. And export of cultural heritage from the territory of India is forbidden”, – noticed A. Stetsenko.
At the same time he specified that among the withdrawn works of art there were no paintings transferred by S. Roerich to Russia but only the pictures granted to the Museum later.
Now the withdrawn works of art are in the museum of the Oriental arts. As the official representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation Irina Volk reported, in this museum their art expertise will be carried out.
Earlier she reported to Interfax that search procedures were carried out within a legal investigation of fraud concerning the ex-chairman of the board of one of the Moscow banks.
According to I.Volk, the ex-banker was a donator of one of the international non-governmental organizations and under contracts of donation granted to the specified organization works of art by Nicholas and Svetoslav Roerichs, acquired on money received by affiliated individuals on the fictitious loans in the bank.