A judge ruled Monday that a Russian art dealer living in Manhattan will not face criminal extradition to Poland over an inherited painting that was stolen during World War II.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan ruled that Alexander Khochinskiy should not face criminal charges since he did not know that his father, a former Soviet soldier, had given him stolen porperty.
The Third Reich took the 1754 oil painting "Girl With a Dove" by Antoine Pesne in 1943 from the National Museum in Poznan, Poland, according to court papers. After the war, the Red Army took the painting and stored it in Moscow. How Khochinskiy's father, who died in 1991, acquired the work is not known.
The younger Khochinskiy became aware that the painting was missing from Poland in 2010, prior to that he showed it freely.
"Undisputed evidence showed that Khochinskiy openly displayed the painting in his gallery in Moscow for many years and listed it in published catalogs," the judge wrote. "This behavior is inconsistent with someone who knows his property is sought by a foreign sovereign."
When Khochinskiy contacted Polish authorities about the painting in 2010, they repsonded with a demand for its return, without compensation. The painting disappeared before Russian officials could seize it. Now in New York, Khochinskiy admits that he has placed the contested work in an undisclosed location.