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April 17, 2012

Richard Ellis, founder of Scotland Yard's Art and Antiquities Squad, sets the record straight on recent comments attributed to him on the blog Art Hostage

by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief

On April 13, 2012, Art Hostage, a blog on art theft, re-printed an article about the recovery of a stolen Cézanne painting in Serbia, then added comments he attributed to Richard Ellis, founder of the Art and Antiquities Squad at The New Scotland Yard, that accused Serbian police of corruption.

The Boy with the Red Waistcoat was one of four paintings stolen from the Foundation E. G. Bührle in Zurich in 2008.  [You may read about it here and here on the ARCA Blog).

The ARCA Blog asked Mr. Ellis about the nature of the comments attributed to him on the Art Hostage blog.  This is Mr. Ellis' reply:
I have had absolutely no contact or conversation with Paul Hendry, aka James Walsh the author of "Art Hostage" since his conviction at Lewes Crown Court in September 2010 for offences of benefit fraud and his subsequent imprisonment.  For some time before his conviction Hendry had taken to making unsubstantiated claims on the Art Hostage blog supported by quotes of his own invention. He has as a result turned what was initially a responsible and informative blog spot, where he would voluntarily edit and correct inaccuracies if requested to do so, in to an unreliable and unbelievable blog supported by lies, made one can only speculate for the benefit of his own ego.
Mr. Ellis explained that Hendry/Walsh was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and served it in full.

According to Paul "Turbo" Hendry, he 'served three months three weeks in HMP Ford Open Jail; another three months three weeks on electronic tag; then another three months three weeks on probation, reporting to a probation officer once a month, ending August 2011. "The conviction is subject of an ongoing IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) inquiry looking at a cover up by Police," Mr. Hendry wrote in an email. "I pleaded not guilty to the charges/indictments and that is  why I was sent to jail. If I had pleaded guilty I would have been fined. The Police refused to reveal the contents of their files in court under a D-notice, Public Immunity Certificate, which would have vindicted me and proved they authorized the Benefit claim back in the year 2000." [Mr. Hendry's comments are from an email to the ARCA blog dated July 12, 2013].

Mr. Ellis teaches Art Policing and Investigation at ARCA's Postgraduate Program in International Art Crime and Cultural Heritage Protection Studies in Amelia.