Israeli Man Arrested In France On US Art Theft Charges

LAWFUEL – Legal Newswire – MICHAEL J. GARCIA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and PETER J. SMITH, the Special
Agent-in-Charge of the Department of Homeland Security’s United
States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), announced the
unsealing today of an Indictment against SOLLY SINAI, a/k/a
“Soley Sinay,” a/k/a “Sollyme Sinay,” for the sale and attempted
sale of several items of stolen art and antiques in New York.
SINAI, 53, was arrested on or about January 30, 2008, in Paris on
a provisional arrest warrant issued in connection with the
charges filed in the United States. According to the six-count
Indictment filed in Manhattan federal court in May 2005:
SINAI possessed and sold, or attempted to sell, several
items previously stolen during three burglaries committed in
Paris. In the spring of 1997, approximately 200 pieces of
valuable Japanese antique miniature sculptures were stolen from a
Paris antiques shop.

A second burglary took place in May 1998
when more than 50 items of art and antiques — including four
pairs of antique, Napoleonic-era pistols, hand-carved and
historically unique, valued in total at approximately $500,000,
as well as a decorative antique silver bowl — were stolen from a
Paris residence. The total value of the items stolen in this
burglary exceeded $1 million. Approximately one month later, a
Paris antiques shop was burglarized of, among other things, a
pair of antique candelabra and approximately 104 bronze
sculptures, the majority of which were valuable “first casts” by
the artist ANTOINE LOUIS BARYE (“Barye Bronzes”).

In June 2000, SINAI sold and attempted to sell in New
York City and elsewhere various items stolen in the Paris
burglaries, including six of the antique pistols, the silver
bowl, the candelabra, and several of the Barye Bronzes.
The Indictment charges SINAI with two counts of
interstate transportation of stolen property and four counts of
receipt and sale of stolen property.

SINAI is currently in the custody of French
authorities. The United States is preparing the formal
extradition package to bring SINAI to the United States to stand

If convicted, SINAI faces on each count a maximum
sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of the greatest of
$250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the

Mr. GARCIA thanked ICE for its work in the
investigation of this matter.

The case is being prosecuted by the Major Crimes Unit
of the United States Attorney’s Office. Assistant United States
Attorney DAVID SIEGAL is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely
accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty.
08-38 ###

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