Page last updated at 15:23 GMT, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Leonardo da Vinci lawyer foresaw 'history or arrest'

Madonna of the Yarnwinder
Five men are accused of trying to extort money for the painting's return

The Leonardo extortion trial has heard claims one of the accused said he would either make art history or be arrested.

Lawyer Calum Jones, 45, was later led away by detectives who raided the Glasgow offices of HBJ Gateley Wareing.

The 2007 raid also found the Madonna of the Yarnwinder which had been taken from the Dumfriesshire estate of the Duke of Buccleuch four years earlier.

Five men deny conspiring to extort £4.25m for the painting's return. They are not accused of the robbery.

The High Court in Edinburgh was hearing evidence from James Rennie, 45, a specialist in corporate law and a former colleague of Mr Jones.

He described seeing him in the Glasgow law offices.

He said the last time he had seen Mr Jones before learning police were in the building he had been on his own.

Deny charges

"I am either going to make art history or I am going to be arrested," he said.

Mr Rennie said his colleague seemed to address the remark to the world at large.

Questioned by advocate depute Simon Di Rollo, prosecuting, Mr Rennie said he did not know what the remark meant and he had no idea that a stolen painting was to be brought into the offices.

On trial along with Mr Jones, 45, from Renfrewshire, are David Boyce, 63, from Lanarkshire, and Marshall Ronald, 53, Robert Graham, 57, and John Doyle, 61, all from Lancashire.

They deny conspiring to extort £4.25m and an alternative charge of attempting to extort the money.

The trial continues.

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