Egyptian tycoon offers reward for Van Gogh theft

Wed Aug 25, 2010 8:56pm GMT
 

(Refiles to strip out company codes)

* $55 million Van Gogh painting stolen from Cairo museum

* Sawiris is the first businessman to take public action

CAIRO, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has offered a 1-million Egyptian pound ($175,300) reward for information leading to the recovery of a stolen Van Gogh painting, television reported on Wednesday.

Sawiris, chairman of the leading Arab mobile operator Orascom Telecom, is the first businessman to publicly get involved in the search for the panting, worth an estimated $55 million.

The painting, known as "Poppy Flower" according to a statement in Arabic, was stolen on Saturday morning from Cairo's Mahmoud Khalil Museum, home to one of the Middle East's finest collections of 19th- and 20th-century art.

An early investigation of the theft showed "flagrant shortcomings" in security, with only seven out of 43 security cameras working properly.

The culture ministry's head of fine art, Mohsen Shaalan, has been detained along with four other officials for 19 days pending investigation after being accused of "negligence and failing to carry out their employment duties".   Continued...

 
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