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Russia Investigating Norweigan Consular Staff

(RFE/RL) April 6, 2006 -- Russian authorities say they have opened a criminal investigation into Norwegian consular employees accused of trying to take paintings out of the country without proper documentation.

A Customs Service spokesman said officers found dozens of paintings in a car belonging to the Norwegian consulate in the city of Murmansk in December.

Fifteen of the paintings were deemed by experts to be "cultural valuables" that by law require customs declarations before they can be taken out of the country.

Officials at the Norwegian consulate in Murmansk declined to comment.


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