BUCHAREST, Romania — Three Romanians have pleaded guilty to stealing seven paintings, including works by Picasso, Monet, and Matisse, from a Dutch museum in a daring nighttime raid that shocked the art world.
Radu Dogaru, Alexandru Bitu, and Eugen Darie told a Bucharest court on Tuesday that they took the multimillion-dollar paintings from the Kunsthal Museum in October 2012. They are charged with the theft and with bringing the paintings into Romania.
The works have never been found, and may have been burned.
In their depositions to prosecutors, the suspects, who were arrested in January, said they brought the paintings to Romania, tried to sell them on the black market, then left them with Dogaru’s mother, Olga Dogaru.
Chief suspect Radu Dogaru told the court Tuesday that the paintings were handed over to a Russian Ukrainian man, and he wrote the man’s address on a piece of paper for the court. The name was not publicly confirmed.
Dogaru denied the paintings had been burned in his mother’s stove.
He said that remains of paint, canvas, and nails identified in the ash by a Romanian museum could have been from a fence with handmade nails or from 19th-century icons that were in the family home.