Seven arrested for brutal Gothenburg diesel theft

Seven men have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated robbery and weapons crimes after a truck driver was beaten and robbed of 450 litres of diesel fuel at a rest area north of Gothenburg.

“No weapons have been found as of yet,” said police spokesperson Teresia Lagnefors to news agency TT.

The truck driver had been travelling south on the E6 motorway on Sunday evening at around 9pm when he stopped off at the rest area to use the bathroom, according to local Göteborgsposten (GP) daily.

“He was then approached by a number of men and three women who threatened him with a gun. They hit him over the head and siphoned off diesel from his vehicle into cans,” said Sven Persson of the police told GP.

The shaken truck driver managed to reach his vehicle and drive off. He stopped off at the next major service station and called the police.

“We sent patrols to the location where they discovered a number of people of the right description in possession of cans of diesel,” Persson said.

Seven men aged between 25 and 43-years-old were brought in for questioning on suspicion of aggravated robbery and six have now been officially arrested, while one is in hospital.

According to the police they found several cans containing diesel at the rest area, where there were also several women and children present.

“We have been told that they have been staying in the area, there were several mobile homes there,” said Sara Nyqvist of the local police to the Expressen daily.

According to a photographer on the scene, the situation became heated when the police officers arrived.

“Overall it was a large group of people and those who remained were family and friends of those arrested. It was an unsettled atmosphere with people shouting and gesticulating,” said photographer Björn Andersson to Expressen.

According to the paper, several police patrols were present and a police helicopter circled the area during the arrest.

The truck driver reportedly got away with minor injuries and didn’t need to seek medical attention after the incident.

The Local/rm

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Spanish banker gets jail term for trying to smuggle Picasso masterpiece out of Spain on yacht

A Spanish court has sentenced a former top banker to 18 months in jail for trying to smuggle a Picasso painting deemed a national treasure out of the country on a sailing yacht.

Spanish banker gets jail term for trying to smuggle Picasso masterpiece out of Spain on yacht
Head of a Young Woman by Pablo Picasso Photo: AFP

The court also fined ex-Bankinter head Jaime Botín €52.4 million ($58.4 million), according to the Madrid court ruling issued on January 14th which was made public on Thursday.   

It awarded ownership of the work, “Head of a Young Girl”, to the Spanish state.

Botin, 83, is unlikely to go to prison as in Spain first offenders for non-violent crimes are usually spared jail time for sentences of less than two years.   

French customs seized the work, which is estimated to be worth €26 million, in July 2015 on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, halting what they said was an attempt by Botin to export it to Switzerland to sell it.

His lawyers argued at the time that he was sending it for storage in a vault in Geneva but the court found him guilty of “smuggling cultural goods” for removing the painting “from national territory without a permit”.

Botin, whose family are one of the founders of the Santander banking group, had been trying since 2012 to obtain authorisation to export the painting.   

However Spain's culture ministry refused the request because there was “no similar work on Spanish territory” from the same period in Picasso's life.    

In 2015, a top Spanish court sided with the authorities and declared the work of art “unexportable” on the grounds that it was of “cultural interest”.    

Picasso painted it during his pre-Cubist phase in Gosol, Catalonia, in 1906. It was bought by Botin in London in 1977.

Botin's lawyers had argued that the work should not be subjected to an export ban since it was acquired in Britain and was on board a British-flagged vessel when it was seized.

When customs officials boarded the yacht, its captain only presented two documents — one of which was the court ruling ordering that the painting be kept in Spain.

The painting is currently stored at the Reina Sofia modern art museum in Madrid, which houses Picasso's large anti-war masterpiece “Guernica”.

READ MORE: Banking family's Picasso seized on Corsica boat