6 Jun 2018 20:24

Icons loaned to Lankton's museum in U.S. returned to Russia - Culture Ministry

MOSCOW. June 6 (Interfax) - The icons that were loaned for an exhibition at Gordon Lankton's private Museum of Russian Icons in the United States have been returned to Russia, the press service for the Russian Culture Ministry told Interfax on Wednesday.

"Due to the failure to fulfill the Russian Culture Ministry's requirement, all materials on this issue were submitted" to interior affairs authorities in Moscow, the press service said. "The icons were returned to Russia through joint efforts," it said.

"The private Museum of Russian Icons, which, according to some reports, was established with Gordon Lankton's participation, filled out the paperwork for temporary export," the ministry said.

"Actual damage has been avoided thanks to the timely actions of the Russian Culture Ministry and law enforcement agencies with support from the Russian Foreign Ministry," it said.

In 2015, the Culture Ministry "notified Mr. Gordon Lankton about the need to return to Russia the icons that had been loaned to be displayed at the exhibition 'From Russia with Love' in his private Museum of Russian Icons in the city of Clinton, Massachusetts, U.S., in 2006," the ministry said.

Gordon Lankton's collection of over than 400 icons is usually exhibited at the museum.

He was charged with failing to return cultural property before the established deadline. The court placed him on an international wanted list.

Yelena Knyazeva, the former director of a private icon museum in Moscow, was also charged in the case.

Lankton and Knyazeva were charged with taking 16 icons to the United States for display between October 2009 and October 2014. According to investigators, experts estimated the total value of the icons at about 26 million rubles.