A MADRID court is currently deciding whether four people are to be charged with regards to the use of four paintings said to be by Goya as collateral to raise funds to convert an old hotel into a medical centre.
The company known as Inversión y Explotación de Activos, SL – which has since ceased to trade – produced a written appraisal which gave an overall value to the artwork at over €10 million, which encouraged the local authorities in the town of Villaviciosa de Odón to change its position with regards to planning permission.
The artwork was meant to underwrite a capital increase that would enable the company to build the centre which was to specialise in spinal cord injuries but police suspected that the paintings may be fake and launched an enquiry.
The National Police’s Historical Heritage Unit became suspicious when the owners of the paintings requested permission to take one of them to Switzerland. It then transpired that the other three had already been transferred to that country.
El Heraldo de Aragón newspaper reported that export paperwork indicated that these three paintings were by an unknown artist, and that their real value was €300, €350 and €950, respectively rather than €3,528,000, €1,386,000 and €2,016,000 as stated by the alleged art expert.
The judicial inquiry is nearing its end, after which the case will either be dismissed or a date set for trial.
Villaviciosa Town Hall said that the project was a private venture and that the local government played no role in “any possible irregularities.”