Art lovers, beware. Authorities in Uzbekistan say dozens of paintings at the Tashkent State Arts Museum have been sold off and replaced by fakes.
On December 12, court officials in the Uzbek capital said three former senior employees of the museum have been sentenced to prison for fraud.
They were found guilty of replacing several paintings by prominent Soviet artists with copies between 1999 and 2014 and selling the originals to unknown individuals.
Authorities said they did the same with about 25 paintings from the museum's treasury of European art.
Former senior curator Mirfaizi Usmanov was sentenced to nine years and three months in prison.
The former chief of the museum's restoration lab, Bakhtiyor Botirov, and a restorer, Abdurakhmon Muranov, received eight-year sentences.
There was no way to independently verify the accuracy of the verdicts in the tightly controlled Central Asian nation.
With reporting by Khuquq and Interfax