Spanish Billionaire’s Prison Sentence For Smuggling Picasso Painting Out Of Spain Is Increased To Three Years


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Spanish billionaire Jaime Botín had his original sentence of 18 months in prison for smuggling a $29 million Picasso out of Spain increased Tuesday to three years. 

Botín, 83, was previously sentenced in January to 18 months with a $57.9 million fine after being found guilty of smuggling a Picasso out of Spain. The fine was increased to $101.5 million and Botín was forced to surrender the work after the prosecution detected an error in the original sentencing, according to the Associated Press. It is currently located at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid until further notice. (RELATED: Banana That Sold For $120,000 Eaten As ‘Art Performance’)

“Head of a Young Woman,” Picasso’s painting from his “Pink Period” was discovered by Spanish police in 2015 on board Botín’s yacht in Corsica, where he smuggled it despite court orders to keep the painting within Spain. Authorities seemed to have been monitoring Botin’s activities since he purchased the painting in 1977, expecting him to sell it. Botín claimed he was transporting it to Switzerland for safekeeping. 

Spain has strict heritage laws, which require art owners to apply for permits to export art that is more than 100 years old. Botín was denied a permit due to the painting’s national value, and Bloomberg reports that prosecutors in the case argued that Botín was smuggling it out of Spain in hopes of selling it at a London auction house.

Botín authorized Christie’s auction house, based in London and specializing in private sales of fine art, to seek an export permit in 2012. Internal emails detail how the painting was slated for auction in February 2013 as a top draw. (RELATED: An Art Piece Shows Ivanka Trump Cleaning)

Botín has ten days to appeal the decision, although he is unlikely to serve the duration of the sentence due to his age and his lack of prior offenses. 

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