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Spanish banking family's Picasso seized by French customs

The Picasso museum in Paris
The Picasso museum in Paris Reuters/Benoit Tessier

A Picasso worth more than 25 million euros and deemed a Spanish national treasure has been seized by French authorities from a boat docked on the Mediterranean island of Corisca.

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The painting "Head of a Young Woman" is owned by Jaime Botin, a well-known Spanish banker whose family founded the Santander banking group.

A Spanish court ruled in May that the painting could not be taken out of the country on the grounds that it is of “cultural interest”.

That was after an export request was filed in December 2012 to move the art to London, but was opposed by Spain's culture minister.

An attempt to export the painting to Switzerland on Thursday "drew the attention of French officials", according to France’s customs authorities, who are now awaiting an official Spanish request to recover the art.

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