A FAMILY in Malaga were reunited with their statue of emperor Antoninus Pius, which was reportedly stolen over six years ago, following a visit to the Costa del Sol last summer from Michelle Obama, and her two daughters, Malia and Sasha Obama.
During the visit, which naturally attracted vast media interest, the first lady and her daughters were to stay in the Villa Padierna hotel in Benahavis. Prior to the arrival of the Obamas, hotel owner Ricardo Arranz was interviewed for a televised news programme.
Among those watching the programme was Malaga lawyer Adolfo Martos who was surprised to find that a statue inside the hotel looked strikingly familiar. Waiting until after the visit of the Obama family, Martos met with Arranz and produced the police report detailing the robbery of the statue. The sculpture of the emperor Antoninus Pius had been in Martos’ family since 1907 until it was stolen in 2004.
Arranz agreed that it was indeed the same sculpture that had been stolen from the family, explaining that the ‘Arbi Foundation’, who own the art which decorates the hotel, had legally purchased the sculpture, with receipts and paperwork, five years previously. The hotel has since left the matter in the hands of the police and police findings have now been passed on to a Malaga court.
The statue was returned immediately to the family.