March 16, 2006

Stolen Van Gogh returned after 7 years

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch bank got a bonus on Thursday
when police turned up with its stolen Van Gogh painting during
an earnings news conference.

"The Pollard Willow" was one of the last works the Dutch
painter made in Nuenen in 1885 before leaving the southern
region of the Netherlands where he was born.

The still life on a wooden panel, valued at several million
euros, was stolen from a meeting room at F. van Lanschot
Bankiers' Den Bosch headquarters in May 1999 in a heist police
still have yet to solve.

"The most important thing was to get the painting back in a
good state," Jac Nouwens, chief investigator for the district
police, told reporters.

Two men, aged 25 and 33 were arrested for attempting to
sell the painting and are being interrogated, Nouwens said. He
declined to give more details of the continuing investigation.

Van Lanschot, which owns some 3,500 works of art, is still
looking for a secure place to display the painting.

"For the time being we will definitely keep it in the safe.
We need to get used to the idea again that it's back," Van
Lanschot Chief Executive Floris Deckers told reporters.

Another piece of good news at the news conference was that
F. Van Lanschot Bankiers' 2005 profit jumped 51 percent to 152
million euros ($183 million).