Museum Security Network

Insider theft – Ex-Polish president’s waiter on trial over theft of painting

31.08.2017 13:39

A former waiter went on trial on Thursday accused of stealing a valuable 19th century painting from the Polish presidential palace.

The suspect in a Warsaw court. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański The suspect in a Warsaw court. Photo: PAP/Leszek Szymański

Prosecutors accuse the suspect of stealing a painting “of special significance” to Polish culture when he worked for the president’s office.

The painting by Roman Kochanowski (1857-1945), entitled “Gooseherd” (“Gęsiarka”), was reported missing from the palace at the end of 2015 after former President Bronisław Komorowski and his staff moved out.

An audit found the picture had disappeared after Andrzej Duda took over as president that year.

The former waiter, named by officials only as “Jarosław G.”, denies theft. He is accused of pawning the painting. He faces up to 10 years in jail if found guilty.

Waiters and other staff had free access to rooms in the presidential palace, Poland’s PAP news agency reported.

The missing picture was tracked down in a Warsaw auction house, where it was put up for sale in June 2015. It was returned to the presidential palace last year.

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