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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

RyC secures art restitution seized in Civil War

Ramón y Cajal Abogados has advised the heirs of the businessman Ramón de la Sota y Llano, securing the restitution by Spain´s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of two significant works of art seized by the Franco regime and whose real ownership was unknown to the Administration.

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A Ramón y Cajal Abogados´ Art Law, led by partners Rafael Mateu de Ros and Patricia Fernández Lorenzo, succeeded in getting the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism to admit the request for voluntary return made by the heirs of the businessman Ramón de la Sota y Llano of two significant works of art seized by the Franco regime and whose real ownership was unknown to the Administration.

The return of these two works 85 years later sets a historic precedent in the restitution of works seized during the Civil War.

As explained by Rafael Mateu, During Franco’s regime, the family obtained recognition of the right to restitution of the assets seized in 1937. But the defendants (including De la Sota, who had already died in France) were made to pay a civil liability subsidiary to the political-criminal sanction of such a high amount that it could only be satisfied through the seizure and adjudication of assets. De la Sota’s children and grandchildren had to pay the outstanding war fines in the 1960s and obtained the return of their assets. But not all of them. Some, forgotten or not in the administrative offices, were left wandering in limbo despite the family’s continuous claims. Among them are two paintings, which are now temporarily deposited in the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum.

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