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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 November 2007, 12:16 GMT
Rubens art 'not stolen by Nazis'
Three paintings by Flemish master Rubens held in a British gallery were not stolen by the Nazis, a government panel has ruled.

Dutch art collector Franz Koenigs lost the works "because of business/ economic reasons" according to the Spoliation Advisory Panel.

The panel resolves claims over art looted during the Nazi era.

Koenigs' granddaughter Christine Koenigs had sought the return of the 17th-century paintings.

Loan collateral

The paintings - St Gregory the Great with Ss. Maurus and Papianus and St. Domitilla with Ss. Nereus and Achilleus; The Conversion of St Paul; and The Bounty of James I Triumphing Over Avarice - are held in the collection at the Courtauld Institute of Art, in London.

Mr Koenigs gave the paintings to the Lisser and Rosenkranz Bank in 1935 as collateral for a loan.

In 1940, the mainly Jewish-owned bank went into liquidation because of the impending German invasion of the Netherlands, and called in Koenig's loan.

When he did not repay it, "the bank then sold the paintings as it was entitled to do under the loan agreement."

The paintings were sold to an art collector who left them to the Home House Society, precursor of the Courtauld.

The British government and the gallery said they welcomed the decision.

The Spoliation Advisory Panel was set up in 2000 to resolve claims arising from looted Nazi-era property held in collections in Britain.

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