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2 Van Gogh paintings recovered by Italian anti-Mafia police 

Recovered Van Gogh paintings
Alex Rueger, center, director of Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, stands next to the paintings “Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen,” left, and “Seascape at Scheveningen” by Vincent van Gogh on Friday.
(Ciro Fusco / ANSA via Associated Press)

Anti-Mafia police in Naples have recovered two Van Gogh paintings stolen from Amsterdam in 2002, the Van Gogh Museum and organized crime investigators said Friday.

The museum in a statement on its website Friday said the paintings, found without their frames, are in “relatively good condition.” It said the two paintings are the 1882 work “Seascape at Scheveningen” and a later work, “Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen.”

Police in Naples said the paintings, of “priceless value,” were discovered during a raid as part of a crackdown against a Naples-based Camorra crime clan suspected of cocaine trafficking. Naples prosecutors said more details will be given later at a news conference in the southern Italian city.

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The paintings were sequestered along with other property, worth “tens of millions of euros,” said the police. The Financial Guard, a branch of the Italian police, often sequesters financial assets of suspected criminals.

“After all these years, you no longer dare count on a possible return,” the museum quoted its director Alex Rueger as saying, and expressed gratitude to Italian investigators and police.

The museum said the paintings, inspected by a curator, do show “some damage” and it is unclear when they will return to Amsterdam. The museum director was planning to attend the news conference.

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