Eight men accused of stealing a Banksy from the Bataclan concert hall in Paris go to the Tribunal

A recovered stolen artwork by British artist Banksy, depicting a young female figure with a mournful expression, that was painted as a tribute to the victims of the 2015 terror attacks at the Bataclan music hall in Paris, is shown during a ceremony at the French Embassy in Rome, Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

Eight people are on trial in Paris for stealing a Banksy painting painted on the door of the Bataclan concert hall in honor of the 90 people killed in the 2015 attacks. Seven Frenchmen and one Italian are suspected of removing a metal door from a building before dawn in January 2019 and transporting it to Italy.

In 2018, it was stenciled as a mournful young woman by an anonymous British street artist. This put it at an estimated cost of one million euros ($1.1 million).

A white van with hidden license plates was pulled up on January 26 in an alley next to the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris. Many concert-goers fled down the same lane as the Bataclan became the focus of the worst terrorist attacks in France since World War II. Then the jihadists of the Islamic State group in November 2015 killed 130 people in a number of places throughout the capital.

Three of the defendants, in their 30s, confessed to the theft upon arrest, although two said they were only following orders from a man who was not present when the door was opened, Mehdi Meftah. Meftah, 41, who founded a luxury T-shirt brand adorned with 18-carat gold bars, told police after claiming a €7.5 million lottery win that his friend Kevin G., also under investigation, gave him Banksy without warning.

This version was confirmed by Kevin G., one of three believed to have removed the door, but disputed by two others. Four more defendants, aged 31 to 58, are accused of transporting stolen works of art.


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