A 17th Century painting by Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn has been recovered nearly five years after it was stolen from the National Museum in Stockholm, Danish police said Friday.
Police arrested four people, including two Iraqi nationals, a Swede and a Gambian, in a raid Thursday on a downtown Copenhagen hotel, Chief Superintendent Per Larsen of the Copenhagen police told the Associated Press.
The Rembrandt, a self-portrait from 1630, was stolen by three armed and masked robbers who entered Stockholm's National Museum in late December 2000, making off with the masterpiece as well as two paintings by French Century painter August Renoir, who died in 1919.
The thieves then escaped in a boat that was docked in a nearby harbor.
The painting is worth an estimated 250 million Danish kroner (US$42 million, Ђ34 million). It was recovered in a multinational operation that included the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
"The operation was the result of a close cooperation between the FBI (and) the Swedish police," Larsen said. "We heard that someone was trying to sell the painting, and we decided to go for it."
The painting was undamaged and still in its original frame, Larsen said, declining to give further details about the operation.
The four men were to be charged with possession of stolen goods, and would face a custody hearing later Friday.
"Then we will have them extradited to Sweden," he was quoted as saying by the AP.
Stockholm police spokesman Ulf Goranzon said the painting would be returned to Sweden's National Museum.