After an absence of almost nine years the two works of art stolen from the National Gallery in January 2012 will be returning there shortly. The 49-year-old perpetrator has confessed to the so-called “heist of the century” as procedures are already going ahead to issue a decision for the paintings’ recovery by the Council of Misdemeanours Court Justices.

The Judicial Council is expected to meet in the coming days to order the return of the two valuable paintings to the National Gallery. The investigator of the case Athanasios Marneris is making this move and has already gathered all necessary documents which officially prove that the two stolen paintings by Pablo Picasso and Piet Mondrian are owned by the National Gallery- Alexander Soutsos Museum. Thus, the file will shortly be forwarded by the magistrate to the Council whose decision will give the go ahead for the return of the two works to the Museum.

The investigator is also proceeding with an evaluation of the two paintings which will change the facts regarding the sentencing of the theft’s perpetrator who has confessed to his crime. Once the works’ assessment has been completed and given that they are valued at over 120 thousand euros, set as a limit by law for determining the punishment of perpetrators of grand theft, the magistrate will request additional criminal prosecution against the 49-year-old man provisionally detained for the case, who will face another class of penalty.

The 49-year-old is charged with grand theft by conspiracy, committed and attempted, of objects of artistic importance that were in a collection exposed to public view and in a public building. The offense (Article 374 of the Penal Code) is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. However, if the theft “is directed against the legal entity of the Greek state, legal entities under public law or local government organizations and the value of its object exceeds the total amount of 120,000 euros, imprisonment of at least ten years is imposed” and has a 20-year limitation period.

Information has it that the next step in the Interrogation is to acquire a sample of the accused’s genetic material to verify the 49-year-old’s possible connection with other illegal activities.