Da Vinci update: HBJ partner charged

HBJ Gateley Wareing Glasgow corporate partner Calum Jones has appeared on petition at Dumfries Sheriff Court charged with conspiracy to rob and extort money.

The lawyer was arrested by Dumfries and Galloway police yesterday (4 October) in a raid organised to recover a stolen Leonardo da Vinci painting worth £30m.

The painting was seized at the office and Jones, along with Lancashire men Robert Graham, John Doyle and Marshall Ronald, was arrested.

The four appeared in court this afternoon but made no plea or declaration. They were committed for further examination and granted bail with special conditions.

The arrests came after police intercepted a meeting at HBJ’s offices regarding the return of the Madonna with the Yarnwinder to the UK. Strathclyde Police, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency and the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency also took part in the raid.

In the UK’s biggest art theft, the painting was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle, the South West Scotland home of the late Duke of Buccleuch, in August 2003. The Duke, who died last month, reportedly received an insurance payout in the region of £3m for the painting.

It has been reported that Jones was checking that the repatriation of the painting, which was taken overseas following the theft, was valid in Scots law.

A spokeswoman for HBJ Gateley Wareing declined to comment.