Italy Recovers 14 More Paintings, Including a Salvador Dalí, From Collection of Mafia Boss

125 paintings from the same criminal collection are already on view in a government exhibition.

Gioacchino Campolo
A visitor admires paintings by Michele Cascella during the "Victory of the State" exhibition in Reggio Calabria on May 7, 2016. The exhibition of around hundred paintings, including two of Dali, belonged to a boss of 'Ndrangheta Calabrese mafia, and have been confiscated by the court. Photo courtesy ENZO PENNA/AFP/Getty Images.

Italian police have recovered 14 paintings from apartments in Southern Italy, believed to be part of the collection of a convicted criminal with ties to the Italian mafia, ARCA Blog reports.

Italian police found a painting of Jesus healing a blind man in a pensioner’s home in the Reggio Calabria province, following a search warrant. Crosschecked on the country’s database of stolen cultural property, the painting turned up a match—it had been stolen in 2001 in Randozzo, Sicily—that led law enforcement to another apartment, this one in Messina, Sicily. There, they found 13 more paintings, including one by Salvador Dalí.

The works are thought to have been part of the collection of Gioacchino Campolo, a businessman with ties to both the ‘Ndrangheta and Camorra criminal organizations. The owner of the property from which the paintings were recovered is thought to have potentially been a former employee, and has been charged with receiving stolen goods.

Known as the “King of Videopoker” for running tricked slot machines, Campolo was sentenced to 16 years house arrest in 2011, AFP reported. His assets were reportedly spread across properties in Paris, Rome, Milan, and his hometown of Reggio Calabria, with cash in 27 bank accounts, and a sizable art collection.

In 2013, the Italian government seized 125 artworks in Campolo’s possession, by artists such as Dali, Giorgio De Chirico, and Lucio Fontana (although 22 were reportedly forgeries). Those became state property, and were put on display for an exhibition at the Palace of Culture in Reggio Calabria.


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