German police break up international art ring

Associated Press SHARE

BERLIN (AP) — German police say they've broken up a multi-million-euro (-dollar) international forgery ring that specialized in producing bogus works of Russian avant-garde artists.

Federal police said in a statement that 100 officers raided businesses, homes and art galleries across the country including in Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Cologne Wednesday and Thursday. Searches were also carried out in Israel and Switzerland.

Two suspects, aged 67 and 41, were taken into custody as alleged leaders of the group of six forgery artists.

Police say since 2005 the ring has produced and sold more than 400 faked paintings as "previously unknown works" attributed to artists like Vasily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich for "four- to seven-figure euro sums" each.

A tip from Israel sparked the investigation in December.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.