Catherine Hutin-Blay, the daughter of the artist’s second wife Jacqueline, filed a legal complaint against dealer Olivier Thomas in France last year, accusing him of involvement in appropriating the works.
The pictures included two gouaches by Picasso depicting her mother, Femme se Coiffant and Espagnole à l’éventail, both dating from 1957 and together believed to be worth tens of millions of pounds.
Thomas appeared in court back in November but did not receive any formal charges. He has now been summoned for renewed questioning after investigators found photographs of the missing works on his laptop.
Judge Isabelle Rich-Flament reminded Thomas that he had previously stated he had never seen the pictures before. On July 6, she placed him under judicial supervision for “breach of trust, fraud, concealment and laundering” which caused damage to Hutin-Blay.
Transporting the Works
In her complaint last year, Hutin-Blay said the works had been entrusted to freeports magnate Yves Bouvier for storage but were subsequently sold to the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev without her permission. She also claimed that Thomas had taken possession of the works after being hired to transport them.
While Thomas and Bouvier have denied the accusations, Monaco-based Rybolovlev has since surrendered the works to French authorities.
Earlier in 2015, Rybolovlev made a series of separate legal claims against Bouvier alleging that the so-called ‘king of the freeports’ had overcharged him for paintings over a prolonged period including the sales high-value works by Mark Rothko and Amadeo Modigliani.
Rybolovlev also reportedly paid $127.5m to Bouvier for Leonardo Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi which had previously been sold in a private treaty deal brokered by Sotheby’s for a sum thought to be between $75m-80m.
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