Nazi-looted Modigliani Painting Seized in Wake of Panama Papers

The Modigliani artwork, allegedly looted from a Jewish art dealer during the Holocaust, was sold at a London auction in 1996 to an offshore company reportedly created by the Mossack Fonseca law firm; today it's worth about $25 million.

Gallery assistants pose with the painting 'Jeune femme a la rose' by Amedeo Modigliani during a media preview of the Impressionist and Modern Art sale at Christie's in London, Britain April 11, 2016.
Stefan Wermuth, Reuters

Based on the Panama Papers revelations, Geneva prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation linked to an Amedeo Modigliani painting allegedly looted from a Jewish art dealer during World War II.

Prosecutor's office spokesman Henri Della Casa said Monday that the painting was confiscated last week at special tax zones known as the Geneva free ports. He declined to comment further.

Founder James Palmer of Mondex Corp., a Toronto firm that tracks despoiled artworks, says the Nazis stole the 1918 painting, "Seated Man with a Cane," from collector Oscar Stettinger who fled Paris as the war began.

Palmer said the painting was estimated to be worth at least $25 million. It was sold at a London auction in 1996 to an offshore company reportedly created by the Mossack Fonseca law firm.