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French auction workers convicted in vast theft scam

A Paris court has convicted two auctioneers and 33 other people working for France's biggest auction house in a vast, long-running scam to steal thousands of valuable items worth millions of euros.

Stolen works included a Courbet painting, Chagall and Matisse lithographs, involved about 50 people

In this Nov.30, 1995 file photo, an unidentified employee of the Drouot auction house looks at the painting La Danse (The Danse) by French artist Henri Matisse in Paris. A Paris court has convicted two auctioneers and 33 other people working for France's biggest auction house in a vast, long-running scam. (Jacques Brinon/The Associated Press)

A Paris court has convicted two auctioneers and 33 other people working for France's biggest auction house in a vast, long-running scam to steal thousands of valuable items worth millions of euros.

The works included a Courbet painting, Chagall and Matisse lithographs, and a 2.08-carat diamond. The case involved about 50 people who worked at Hotel Drouot, the oldest and most famous French auction house.

One auctioneer was handed a 12-month suspended prison term and a 30,000-euro ($43,300 CDN) fine, and the other an 18-month suspended prison term and a 36,000-euro fine. Two auctioneers were acquitted.

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