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Germany Can’t Extend Art Theft Statute, Minister Says

Cornelius Gurlitt's Austrian Home
The Austrian home of Hamburg-born Cornelius Gurlitt, is seen at 9 Carl Storch-Strasse, Salzburg, in Austria. Photographer: Alexander Webb/Bloomberg

Germany is unlikely retroactively to extend the statute of limitations in order to prosecute Cornelius Gurlitt, the 80-year-old who hoarded artworks for half a century, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told Handelsblatt newspaper.

Such an extension is “hard to imagine,” she said, urging Gurlitt to acknowledge he has “moral as well as legal obligations”.

About 590 of the works, which include pieces by Max Beckmann and Pablo Picasso and were found in his Munich flat in March 2012, may have been looted from Jewish collections by the Nazi regime, Germany’s government said Nov. 12.

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