CAIRO: Nine antique paintings that were stolen earlier this month were retrieved by police officials after they were tipped off by an “anonymous phone call, an official statement released by the Ministry of Culture said on Thursday.
Ahmed Salah, the ministry’s spokesperson, told Daily News Egypt that the ministry cannot disclose any details pertaining to where the paintings were found.
He also declined to confirm or deny whether an investigation about the theft was still ongoing.
“All we can say now is that police officials found the paintings where the anonymous caller said they would be, he said.
The ministry’s statement said the paintings, which date back to the Mohamed Ali era, will not be displayed again in their original location, the Mohamed Ali Palace in Shubra El-Kheima, but will be safely stored at the Ministry of Culture.
The statement said replicas of the paintings will be displayed at the palace instead.
It was Minister of Culture Farouk Hosni’s statements undervaluing the paintings that propelled the thieves to return them, thinking they will not be able to sell them, the ministry said.
The theft was reported on March 10. The nine paintings were displayed this year at the Mohamed Ali Palace after its renovation was completed.
Daily News Egypt was denied permission to take photos of the retrieved paintings.