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Reports: Russian Paintings Seized In Switzerland

(RFE/RL) 16 November 2005 -- Russian officials say a collection of paintings from the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts has been seized in Switzerland at the request of a Swiss company that claims that Russia owes it millions of dollars in debts.

Irina Antonova, the museum's director, said more than 50 paintings by French artists had been seized. The paintings had been sent to Switzerland for an exhibition.

Officials at the Russian Embassy in Berne said all efforts were being taken to release the paintings.

It is not the first time the Noga company has tried to seize Russian property abroad. The company says Russia owes it millions of dollars on contracts signed in the early 1990s and a few years ago, tried to detain a Russian ship docked at a French port and several SU-30 fighter planes taking part in an air show in Paris.