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Incredible airport seizure: Passenger was hiding a Paja Jovanovic painting, and a €137,500 receipt


The violation was discovered during a check of passengers who flew in to Belgrade from Vienna

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Zaplenjena slika Paje Jovanovica

Photo: Customs Administration

On July 15, Customs officers seized a painting by the famous Serbian painter Paja Jovanovic, which a passenger tried to bring into the country without declaring it. The item was confiscated at Belgrade's Nikola Tesla airport.

The violation was discovered during a check of passengers who flew in to Belgrade from Vienna. After picking up his luggage from the carousel, one of them, a 39-year-old resident of Belgrade, headed toward the green control exit, intended for passengers who have nothing to declare.

After luggage was nevertheless examined in detail, it turned out that it contained a framed painting, "Strazar" ("The Guard") measuring 70 by 56 centimeters, the work of famed Paja Jovanovic, placed among the man's wardrobe and personal belongings.

Along with the painting, the customs officers found the original receipt for €37,500, taxes included, as well as a certified form for VAT refund. Apart from being in violation for not reporting goods whose value is higher than 100 euros, it turned out that the passenger also had €15,500 in cash on him, which he also did not report.

The painting, as well as the €5,500 that were over the allowed 10,000 limit, will be temporarily kept until the end of the misdemeanor procedure before the competent court.

Customs officers at the Belgrade airport usualy encounter attempts to smuggle branded items of clothing, valuable jewelry and watches. In the last few months alone, as many as ten expensive watches manufactured by well-known brands have been seized.

The most expensive among them was a €45,000 Rolex, found in possession of a passenger who arrived from Dubai in mid-April.

A similar attempt was prevented when another passenger, who also flew in from Dubai, was found to be hiding a Franck Muller watch worth €36,000 euros in his luggage.

The total value of the goods seized at this customs outpost during the past four months exceeds €300,000.


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