MADRID – A Spanish businessman suspected of having dealt in millions of dollars of fake art was arrested during Easter festivities in southern Spain, officials said Sunday.
Art dealer Jose Carlos Bergantinos Diaz, who is wanted for fraud in the United States, was arrested Friday at a luxury hotel in Seville. The Interior Ministry said he was so surprised by his arrest that he had to be attended by medical workers.
Glafira Rosales, Bergantinos Diaz’s partner, was arraigned in New York in August, accused of peddling counterfeit art for 15 years as undiscovered works by world-renowned artists such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning.
The indictment charged Rosales with several offenses, saying she had charged two Manhattan art galleries more than $30 million for 63 pieces of fake art. Each was presented as previously unknown works by 20th-century abstract expressionist artists, also including Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline.
The canvasses had actually been created by a painter working from a studio at his home in Queens. Each bogus piece was exposed to extreme temperatures and the outdoors to artificially age it, authorities said.
Prosecutors said the galleries sold the paintings for more than $80 million, earning nearly $48 million in profits.
Wheelhouse in chaos as ferry sank
The South Korean ferry that sank was crippled by confusion and indecision well after it began listing, a radio transcript released Sunday showed, suggesting the chaotic situation may have added to a death toll that could eventually exceed 300.
About 30 minutes after the Sewol began tilting Wednesday, a crew member asked a marine traffic controller whether passengers would be rescued if they abandoned ship off South Korea’s southern coast. The crew member posed the question three times in succession.
That followed several statements from the ship that people aboard could not move and another in which someone declared that it was impossible to broadcast instructions.
Many people followed the captain’s initial order to stay below deck, where it is feared they remain trapped. Sixty-one bodies have been recovered, and about 240 people are still missing.
The confirmed death toll jumped over the weekend after divers finally found a way inside the sunken vessel and quickly discovered more than a dozen bodies.
Pope asks for peace in Ukraine, Syria
Marking Christianity’s most hopeful day, Pope Francis made an Easter Sunday plea for peace and dialogue in Ukraine and Syria, for an end to terrorist attacks against Christians in Nigeria and for more attention to the hungry and neediest close to home.
More than 150,000 Romans and pilgrims turned out for the Mass that Francis celebrated at an altar set up under a canopy on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.
Easter is the culmination of Holy Week and marks Christian belief that Jesus rose from the dead after his crucifixion.
Afghan ballots still being counted
More than a week after ballots were cast in Afghanistan’s presidential election, officials are still tabulating the results, but former Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah has extended his lead to 11 percentage points over his closest challenger.
The Afghan Independent Election Commission announced Sunday the results from 40 percent of the ballots. The figures show Abdullah leading with 44.4 percent of the vote compared to 33 percent for Ashraf Ghani, a former finance minister.
Acclaimed Canadian author, 77, dies
Alistair MacLeod, the award-winning Canadian author best known for his short story collections, has died at age 77.
MacLeod’s former publisher, Doug Gibson, confirmed his death on Sunday. Gibson said MacLeod had been in a Windsor, Ontario, hospital since suffering a stroke in January.
MacLeod won the prestigious 2001 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award for his only novel, No Great Message, which depicts the life of a family beginning in 18th-century Scotland and ending in 20th-century Nova Scotia.
His short story collections include The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1976), As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories (1986) and Island (2000).
Emergency stop for Malaysian flight
A Malaysia Airlines flight heading to India with 166 people aboard made an emergency landing in Kuala Lumpur early today after it was forced to turn back when a tire burst upon takeoff, the airline said.
The incident came about six weeks after a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 239 people on board disappeared March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Searchers are still trying to locate the plane, which is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.