Swiss border guards seize virtuoso's violin

27th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Swiss border guards have seized the 18th-century violin of an acclaimed concert musician, Patricia Kopatchinskaja, who could face a huge fine failing for to declare it, authorities said Tuesday.

Moldovan born Kopatchinskaja, who lives in Switzerland, was questioned about the violin when she flew into Zurich airport last Saturday, a spokesman for the Swiss federal customs office said.

"The violin was not declared upon entry into Swiss territory," he explained, adding that she risks 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 provided by the Austrian National Bank, according to her website. It has been valued at 4.5 million euros (6.0 million dollars).

It was not immediately clear if she had taken the instrument in and out of the country before.

Kopatchinskaja, who also has Austrian nationality, has garnered international awards and critical acclaim in recent years.

She has a packed concert schedule over the spring and summer months in Europe and Australia.

© 2010 AFP

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