Former Santander Vice President and one of Spain’s richest men has seen his second appeal rejected in court this week for the attempted smuggling of a priceless Picasso painting.
Jamie Botin, was convicted in January last year of tying to take the painting, ‘The Head of a Young Woman’ out of the country to sell through the renowned London Auction house, Christies.
Botin’s defense still claims that the billionaire was not trafficking the painting to sell on to a collector, however the courts have rejected all claims and have stood firm on their charges.
The Madrid Court initially closed the case in January last year, however Botin’s defense team issued a request for an appeal a month later.
The subsequent appeal was again rejected and, due to an error in the sentencing by the judge, Botin’s sentence was extended from 18 months to three years and the fine was increased from €57 million to €91.7 million.
Botin is charged with trying to smuggle the ‘The Head of a Young Woman’ oil painting out of Spain despite its classification as an official asset to Spanish historical heritage and deemed by the courts as ‘unexportable’.
Painted in 1906 by Picasso during his Rose period, ‘The Head of a Young Woman’, is estimated to be worth €26 million.
The painting was seized on the banker’s luxury yacht in 2015 while it was docked in Corsica, France.
It was found hidden among a stack of other artworks and was discovered to have been deliberately left off the ships inventory, allegedly because its movement restrictions were known.
It was also later found that Botin had attempted to sell the painting through Christie’s three years earlier, however the London auction house had explained that he needed to obtain a specific license from the Ministry of Culture.
The request was denied, however the painting was already on board his super yacht in the port of Valencia, destined for Corsica.
The painting is now in the hands of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid after it was seized by authorities and transferred back to Spain.
Botín acquired Head of a Young Woman at the Marlborough Fine Arts Fair in London in 1977.