Vincent Van Gogh Paintings
Okkie Durham, the man who admitted the theft of two Vincent Van Gogh paintings back in 2002 last week, has received a notice from the Central Judicial Collection Office. If he does not transfer an amount of €343,812.00 euros within four weeks, he could end up back in prison. Durham doesn’t want to talk in-depth about the situation and told us he would discuss the situation with his lawyer.
Okkie Durham caused uproar last week with his confession in a documentary about the robbery of two famous van Gogh paintings from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum.
The documentary didn’t go unnoticed and caused a huge media hype. All newspapers wrote about his confession and Okkie was invited to the two most watched talk shows in the Netherlands, The World Keeps Turning and Pauw. The New York Times and the British Times published front page articles about the brutal robbery of the two Vincent Van Gogh paintings.
The documentary tells the story out of the thief’s point of view. It start of with Okkie explaining how the day of the robbery went. Many Dutch citizens despise Durham because of the fact that he stole paintings that belong to the people of the Netherlands. During one of Durham’s TV appearances he sat across of the man who is the director Amsterdam’s van Gogh museum. Axel Rüger, the director of the Van Gogh museum said he is above all happy that the paintings have finally returned to their home. He also expressed his feeling about the documentary. “The one thing that i cant stand about all of this is the fact that this man claims to be sorry however he still explains methods at the end of the documentary on how to proceed if someone wanted to steal another painting in our museum”.
Okkie Durham told in the documentary that most of the damages that he had to pay to the museum for stealing the paintings, still had to be paid. He paid the Van Gogh museum over€70,000 euros, but because of penalty interest this amount increased to over €343,000 euros.
Because the paintings are back in the museum , Durham believes the museum isn’t suffering anymore. “Because of all the publicity the museum attracts way more visitors than they used to. All of them pay €15 euro’s to get in,” Durham told us. He therefore believes that the fine should be removed.
The Dutch justice department clearly doesn’t agree with Durham’s method of thinking. The past two years, Durham hasn’t received any letter about having to pay anything to the museum. But yesterday suddenly a bill of € 343,812.00 fell on his doormat. The amount must be received by April 25, otherwise he risks going back to prison. Okkie’s accomplice Henk B. chose not to pay the compensation, which was imposed on him, and had to spend an extra jail in prison. Durham is most likely to suffer the same fate.
Durham’s reaction to all of this ?
“I will not be intimidated by this notice. I’m going to fight this with my lawyer and if we lose, I will go to prison. There I will have enough time to finish my book and scare a lot of people at the justice department. Because I have a lot to tell. It is my turn now”