A Russian art dealer is fighting extradition to Poland on charges he refuses to return a 260-year-old painting that was looted from Poland by the Nazis in 1943.
Lawyers for Alexander Khochinskiy, 64, asked a federal court in New York on May 18 to throw out Poland's extradition complaint, arguing there wasn't enough evidence to show he knew the 1754 painting -- Girl With A Dove by Antione Pesne -- was stolen.
The Third Reich took the painting from the National Museum in Poland, according to court papers, and at the end of the war, the Red Army recovered it.
Khochinskiy said he got the painting from his Russian war hero father, who hung the painting for years in his Leningrad apartment.
“It is entirely unclear how Khochinsky’s father obtained the painting,” prosecutors conceded.
But prosecutor Katherine Reilly said he should still be extradited.
"I don't think we need to know" what happened, she said.
U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said he wanted to hear further arguments before ruling. He set another hearing for June 17.
Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, and The New York Post