Customs officials at Germany's Frankfurt Airport have confiscated a 1736 Stradivarius violin from a 26-year-old violinist who borrowed the precious instrument from Japan's Nippon Music Foundation.
The 1736 Stradivarius violin, valued at $7.6 million, was seized by German customs as Stradivarius violinist Yuki Manuela Janke returned home to Germany after performing in Japan. According to RT customs officials have demanded Janke must pay $1.5 million import duty to retrieve the instrument.
Janke had borrowed the Stradivarius violin from the Nippon Music Foundation. The Yomiuri Shimbun reported the Foundations president Kazuko Shiomi said: "We just renewed our contract with her this September and she had all the necessary certificates. I don't understand why it was confiscated."
Shiomi said the Foundation will request the assistance of the Foreign Ministry and the Cultural Affairs Agency in returning the violin.
German customs authorities confiscated the violin on the grounds that it may be an antiquity which may be sold for money laundering, rather than appreciating it is a musical instrument which the violinist actually uses in performances.