French couple charged with fencing Picassos

Police have charged a retired electrician and his wife with stashing 271 stolen Picasso artworks in their garage, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Pierre Le Guennec, 71, was caught and sued along with his wife when he contacted the late Spanish painter’s estate seeking to authenticate the works, which he had kept in his garage for nearly 40 years, Le Monde newspaper said.

The local public prosecutors’s office declined to confirm the report to AFP and Le Guennec and his lawyer could not be reached for comment.

The report said Le Guennec claimed Picasso and his wife and muse Jacqueline had personally given him the works when he was working at their farmhouse in Mougins, not far from his own home in Mouans-Sartoux, southeastern France.

Investigators found however that some of the works – which include collages, sketches and prints – disappeared from another location, Le Monde said. They seized the works and charged the couple with handling stolen goods.