Suspects In Theft Of Caravaggio Painting Extradited To Ukraine

BERLIN, Germany -- Germany has extradited to Ukraine three suspects in the case of the theft of "The Taking of Christ (or, The Kiss of Judas)," a painting by Italian artist Michelangelo Caravaggio, which was stolen from Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art, the press service of the Prosecutor General's Office has reported.

Caravaggio - The Kiss of Judas

"On Oct. 14, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine successfully completed the extradition of citizens of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ukraine, who were taken under escort on a flight from Berlin to Kyiv and handed over to the employees of the investigating agency," the press service reported.

These persons are accused of stealing the painting by Caravaggio, as well as several other crimes in various regions of Ukraine.

Caravaggio's "The Taking of Christ," one of the gems of the collection of Odessa Museum of Western and Eastern Art, was stolen from the museum on July 31, 2008. A number of experts estimate the work to be worth $100 million.

However, some experts believe that the stolen painting is an author's copy at best, and the original is in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin.

On June 25, in Berlin, a group of three residents of Ukraine and one resident of Germany, who were trying to sell the painting, were detained.

At the end of August the painting was handed over to a Ukrainian delegation headed by Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych during a visit to Germany.

Source: Interfax-Ukraine