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Egyptian Art Minister Busted in $50M Van Gogh Theft

Other officials detained, accused of negligence
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2010 5:20 AM CDT
Updated Aug 24, 2010 5:47 AM CDT
Egyptian Art Minister Busted in $50M Van Gogh Theft
Two Egyptian Security officers walk behind the main gate of the Mahmud Khalil Modern Art Museum in Cairo.   (AP Photo / Nasser Nasser)

(Newser) – The Egyptian government's head of fine arts has been arrested and accused of negligence in the theft of a $50 million Van Gogh painting. The work, known as Poppy Flowers or Vase With Flowers, was stolen from a Cairo museum during the day over the weekend. None of the alarms and only seven of the museum's 43 cameras were working, the BBC reports.

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Several other culture ministry officials have also been detained and at least nine others have been barred from traveling abroad while the investigation continues. The painting—which Egyptian authorities mistakenly said had been recovered soon after its theft—is still missing and security forces have stepped up searches at the country's air and sea ports.
(Read more Vincent Van Gogh stories.)

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