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U.S. Judge Rejects Extradition Request For Russian Art Dealer

A U.S. federal judge has turned down an extradition request from Poland for a Russian art dealer living in New York.

Alexander Khochinskiy was charged in Poland with refusing to turn over an 18th-century painting taken from a Polish museum by the Nazis during World War II.

Khochinskiy says he inherited the painting, "Girl with a Dove," a 1754 oil painting by Antoine Pesne, from his father, who came home with the painting at the end of the war.

The judge ruled that Poland lacks probable cause that a crime took place, as it produced no evidence that Khochinskiy knew "Girl with a Dove" was stolen when he acquired it upon his father's death in 1991.

In fact, evidence supported Khochinskiy's claim that he inherited the painting, the ruling said.

"Undisputed evidence showed that Khochinskiy openly displayed the painting in his gallery in Moscow for many years and listed it in published catalogs," it said. "This behavior is inconsistent with someone who knows his property is sought by a foreign sovereign."

With reporting by AP

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