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Thursday, 1 November, 2001, 15:44 GMT
Ceausescu's son sues over paintings
Ceausescu palace in Bucharest
The Ceausescu regime ruled from Bucharest
Valentin Ceausescu, the elder son of late Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, is suing the country's art museum for the return of paintings he says are his.

The paintings and art books were confiscated from him during the 1989 uprising against Communist rule.

On Tuesday Mr Ceausescu went to court in Bucharest to try to force the return of the artifacts from the National Art Museum.

His lawyer is arguing that, as criminal charges against him have been dropped, his civil rights have been restored and he is entitled to the goods.

Prison

But Romanian public authorities have been quoted as saying that neither Valentin Ceausescu nor his sister Zoia, who tried to reclaim property earlier, had any documents proving their title to the assets.

Mr Ceausescu was arrested during the 1989 uprising and spent eight months in prison.

But in 2000, prosecutors dropped criminal charges of "undermining the national economy" without ever having brought him to trial.

For some years Mr Ceausescu, 53, has been seeking the return of his paintings and books, which he says are of sentimental value.

Research

An inventory of valuables drawn up by the Ceausescu family in 1998 included some 50 paintings by Romanian masters, engravings by Spanish master Francisco Goya, and hundreds of rare books.

Mr Ceausescu now works as a researcher at the Nuclear Physics Institute, as he did before the revolt.

He was represented by his lawyer at the Bucharest municipal court.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for 20 November.

See also:

09 Jul 98 | Europe
Romanian art works found in Miami
22 Dec 99 | Europe
Romania's bloody revolution
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