Putin Gifts Fabergé Egg to Museum

St Petersburg -- President Vladimir Putin had the honor of presenting a $15 million Fabergé egg to the Hermitage Museum in celebration of its 250th birthday.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network are glad to see the repatriation of these Fabergé masterpieces.

The Russian President attended a party this week with the gift.

The egg, which also houses a clock, was created for the 25th wedding anniversary of Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna. It was made in the exclusive Carl Fabergé workshop, who were the official jewelers to the tsar.

In an interview Alexander Ivanov, a Russian businessman who opened the Fabergé Museum in Baden-Baden, Germany, confirmed that the egg was the one he had bought at Christie’s in 2007, for a record $15 million.

Last week the owner of the Fabergé egg accused Britain of raiding his German museum in a failed attempt to stop President Putin from presenting it to the Hermitage museum as a birthday gift.

Customs Raid

Forty British law-enforcement officers, with support from Germany’s Financial Investigation and Customs Department, raided the Museum in November.

Acting at the request of British Revenues and Customs, the officers presented accusations that the Fabergé Museum has avoided paying £70,000 pounds in VAT on objects bought from London auction houses over a 15 year period.

The objects were imported to Russia which is outside of the VAT zone and then put back on display in Baden-Baden, in the museum's other location, which is within the EU.

The museum has stated that the charges are completely unfounded.

Investigators also raided the home and searched the car of the Faberge Museum’s director, Sergei Avtonoshkin. They reported that they found nothing incriminating.

The case began in early February 2012 when Mr Avtonoshkin missed a flight from London to Moscow, via Paris. He attempted to change airlines and rebook, however was stopped by customs agents who suspected that he was not exporting the valuable objects in his possession out of the EU.

Many items were bought in London at both Christies and Bonhams, and were supposed to be headed for the museum’s headquarters in Moscow. Instead, 60 objects were seized in Baden Baden.

The egg's owner, Alexander Ivanov is a billionaire art collector who made his money importing computers toward the end of the Soviet era. He stated that there was a “certain connection” between the raid and the ceremony marking the 250th anniversary"

During his speech President Putin praised the Hermitage for its cultural outreach and said he had discussed plans with the museum’s director, Mikhail Piotrovsky, to open satellites in Yekaterinburg, Omsk and Vladivostok.

“Plans are in place, and one way or another, the plans are moving forward,” Putin stated on the Kremlin website. “I am certain—absolutely certain—that these museums will be unique, not just as regional centers but as national attractions.”

Today's homepage Featured Art Video offers a stunning overview of all the known Fabergé eggs presently in existence. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Otv30391INg&sns=em