Heir Files US Suit Against the Czech Republic to Recover Nazi Art

Michal Klepetar is the grand nephew of Richard Popper, a Jewish art collector who had a number of significant paintings seized by the Nazis.  Many of the works — valued at over $50 million — are currently hanging in the Prague National Gallery, and it does not appear that Popper’s ownership of the works are being questioned.  But Czech restitution law only allows direct relatives, such as wives and children, to claim such stolen art, and his pleadings to government officials and politicians have fallen on deaf ears.

As such, Klepetar is now trying his luck with the US courts, which in some cases have allowed Nazi art suits to proceed against foreign governments.  Also of note is the fact that he is being represented by Edward Fagan, who has purchased an interest in the art works at issue and created an organization called Victims of Holocaust Art Theft for the specific purposes of the lawsuit.

Fagan is well known for obtaining a billion dollar settlement from Swiss banks for withholding accounts that belonged to Jewish families that perished under the Nazis. Fagan later was accused of neglect, fraud, misappropriation and other ethics charges and apparently has been disbarred by New Jersey and New York.

For more information, please write to Mike Bono at mbono@wcmlaw.com