Warsaw, Poland – A Russian-American art dealer facing an arrest warrant from Warsaw is back in the United States after a French court ruled against surrendering him to Poland, the Associated Press reported.
Alexander Khochinskiy, a Russian-born U.S. citizen, was arrested back in February in France, at the Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport, after Poland issued an EU-wide warrant for his arrest.
Polish authorities accuse Khochinskiy of possessing the painting ‘Girl With a Dove’ (1754), an 18th-century painting by French artist Antoine Pesne that was stolen by Nazi Germany from the National Muzeum in Poznan, western Poland, during World War II.
But on Monday, the Paris Court of Appeals turned down Poland’s request to hand over the New York art dealer, enabling him to go back to the U.S., his lawyer announced.
According to Khochinskiy, he received the painting from his father, a World War II veteran who purchased it after the war, and claims he is the legal owner of the painting.
After briefly detaining him in connection with the case at the request of Poland, the United States had released and refused to extradite Khochinskiy back in 2015.
This case is only one of many examples of Poland’s efforts to track down and return works of art that were looted and stolen from the country during Nazi Germany’s occupation or by Soviet troops during World War II.