Spanish Electrician Who Stole Priceless Manuscript and €2.4 Million from Santiago Cathedral Gets 10 Years

José Manuel Fernández Castiñeiras during the trialPhoto via: Faro de Vigo
José Manuel Fernández Castiñeiras during the trial
Photo via: Faro de Vigo

José Manuel Fernández Castiñeiras, the former electrician of the Santiago de Compostela cathedral in Galicia, in northern Spain, has been given a 10-year prison sentence for stealing the Codex Calixtinus, a priceless 12th-century illuminated manuscript from one of the church’s chambers, El Mundo reports.

According to the ruling, Fernández Castiñeiras pinched the codex at an unspecified date between June 30 and July 5, 2011. He also stole €2,4 million and $30,106 between 2000 to 2012, amounts that he will now have to repay to the cathedral. From that total, €1,7 million has already been handed back to the cathedral.

The cash was found alongside the codex by police, in a garage owned by Fernández Castiñeiras, on July 4, 2012. The codex had been wrapped in plastic bags and newspapers, so it reportedly did not suffer any damage.

Fernández Castiñeiras has been sentenced to two years in prison for continued theft, and will have to pay an additional fine of €268,425 for money-laundering charges, as he bought property with the stolen money. His wife has also been charged with money-laundering, and has been given a six-month prison sentence on top of a similar fine.

Fernández Castiñeiras worked at the cathedral as a freelance electrician for over 25 years, which gave him full access to the church, even the more private areas.

But the long-standing professional relationship soured when the electrician got fired for forging a document stating he was full-time employee. He then asked the cathedral to give him €40,000 on the grounds of “unfair dismissal,” which the cathedral refused to do. Many have interpreted the theft of the codex as a sort of “revenge.”

The Codex Calixtinus<br>Photo via: El País

The Codex Calixtinus.
Photo via: El País.

For more artnet News art crime stories, see Prosecutor Asks for Five-Year Suspended Prison Sentence for Picasso’s Electrician Pierre Le Guennec and Librarian Steals Priceless Documents from Russian Museum and Masked Vandal Destroys Michael Asher Sculpture With Sledgehammer.

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