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Mr Williams was arrested after a painting by Frans Hals, Portrait
of the Pastor Adrianus Tegularius, which he bought at Christie’s in London in 1989, was seized by the French authorities from his stand at the Paris Biennale in 1990.

The painting had been stolen from the Schloss family, which had a major collection of Dutch and Flemish art, by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Mr Williams was not aware of its status and nor had this been brought to his attention at the time of the auction where he bought it. But the court chose to ignore his explanation and handed down an eight-month suspended sentence.