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Picassos found at Zurich airport

A sketchbook containing 14 original Picasso drawings has been found in a spot check by customs officers at Zurich airport.

The Federal Culture Office said on Wednesday that the total market value of the sketches, dated May and June 1971, had been put at between SFr1.2 and 1.7 million ($1.06 million and $1.5 million).

Since there were no papers accompanying the sketchbook, it was sent to an auction house for valuation.

No details were given about the nationality of the passenger, or where he had come from. He was passing through the Nothing to Declare channel when he was asked to open his bags.

The Culture Office said the incident occurred two or three weeks ago.

The passenger violated three laws at once. He faces fines for trying to avoid paying customs duty and VAT, and he also broke the law on the international transfer of cultural property, under which cultural items must be declared even when they are in the possession of their rightful owner.

Meanwhile, the book has been returned to the passenger.


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