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Home English German auction-house owner nabbed in Girolamini library case

German auction-house owner nabbed in Girolamini library case


Naples, August 27 - The owner of a German auction
house has been arrested in the case of systematic filching of
ancient and rare volumes from the Girolamini library in Naples,
prosecutors said Tuesday.
Herbert Schauer, owner of the Munich-based auction house
Zisska & Schauer, was placed in handcuffs on August 2, after the
Naples court issued a European warrant for his arrest.
Schauer is accused of receiving roughly 600 of the
estimated 1,500 purloined volumes and manuscripts.
Naples prosecutors believe Schauer took part in the
planning, organization and execution of a "targeted programme
aimed at the dismemberment, mutilation, systematic damage and
illegal exploitation of the book patrimony" held in the
Girolamini llibrary.
The prosecutors claim Schauer put the booty up for auction
in May 2012, and did everything in his power to elude
The theft of the precious antique books from 2011 until
2012 is an "irreparable wound to the city of Naples, its image
and culture, which deals a fatal blow to one of its
extraordinary centres of excellence," according to the
motivations of Judge Egle Pilla's sentence released last month.
In March, Pilla convicted six people, including the
ex-director of the library Marino Massimo De Caro, over the
theft of the books.
De Caro was sentenced to seven years in prison and banned
from ever holding public office again.
Marcello dell'Utri, a mafia-linked former close aid of
ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, was also involved in the probe.
Dell'Utri, a noted bibliophile, is suspected of having
taken possession of many of the stolen books.
Investigations began in April 2012 after media reported the
books were missing, then under the direction of De Caro, a
former advisor to the culture ministry.
The probe revealed the existence of an organized ring
dedicated to the systematic depletion of the manuscripts of the
library founded in 1586 and known particularly for its vast
collection of writings on philosophy and theology.

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