The Swiss authorities, acting on United States request, have seized three rare paintings linked to an investigation into the scandal-hit Malaysian state fund 1MDB.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Office of Justice said the paintings were Vincent van Gogh’s La maison de Vincent à Arles and Claude Monet’s Saint-Georges Majeur and Nympheas avec Reflets de Hautes Herbes. She was confirming a report by the Neue Luzerner Zeitung newspaper.
“The operation is not over yet so we will not comment at the moment on the location of the paintings,” she said.
The US government on Wednesday filed lawsuits seeking to seize $1 billion in assets bought with money believed to have been stolen from the Malaysian 1MDB sovereign wealth fund.
A spokeswoman for the Federal Office of Justice told Reuters that the artworks seized were Van Gogh’s “La maison de Vincent a Arles” and Monet’s “Saint-Georges Majeur” and “Nympheas avec Reflets de Hautes Herbes.”
“The operation is not over yet, so we will not comment at the moment on the location of the paintings,” she added.
Van Gogh’s sketch had been bought for $5.5 million ( RM 22 million ) at a Christie’s auction in 2013, while Monet’s “Saint-Georges Majeur” was acquired from an art dealer for $35 million ( RM 142 million ) later in the year. In 2014, Monet’s “Nympheas” oil painting was bought from Sotheby’s for an estimated $57.5 million ( RM 233 million ).
Low is alleged to have purchased the works of art using shell companies and money traceable to 1MDB.