Virtuoso's seized violin returns to Austria
An 18th-century violin of acclaimed concert musician Patricia Kopatchinskaja which was seized by Swiss border guards after she failed to declare it has returned to Austria, customs officials said Wednesday.
A representative of Austria's central bank which owns the instrument valued at 4.5 million euros (6.0 million dollars) recovered the violin at Zurich airport, ATS news agency quoted a customs official as saying.
The 33-year Kopatchinskaja, who was born in Moldova but now lives in Switzerland, was questioned about the violin when she flew into Zurich airport on Saturday.
As the violin was not declared upon entry into Swiss territory she risked a fine of up to 700,000 Swiss francs (488,000 euros, 651,000 dollars).
Swiss residents are required to declare purchases abroad of above 300 Swiss francs in order to pay duty and tax.
Kopatchinskaja plays a rare 1741 Italian-made Guanerius del Gesu violin -- the "ex-Carrodus" -- which was on loan to her.
"We see this as a misunderstanding. It'll all be resolved amicably," a spokesman for the Austrian central bank had said Tuesday.
The "ex-Carrodus" is one of a total 36 priceless violins -- including a number of Stradivari -- that the Austrian central bank owns and lends to promising young musicians.
Kopatchinskaja, who also has Austrian nationality, has garnered international awards and critical acclaim in recent years.
She has a packed concert schedule through mid-2010 in Europe and Australia.
© 2010 AFP