Lawyers for actor Robert De Niro on Monday announced they are taking legal action against a bankrupt gallery owner over paintings the actor claims were stolen from his father, the New York Post reports.
De Niro is seeking to recover 12 paintings from gallery owner Lawrence Salander and Salander-O'Reilly Galleries.
Lawyers for De Niro say the works in question belong to Robert De Niro Sr. and were among 50 paintings allegedly delivered to an Italian gallery in hopes of staving off the business' financial hardship.
"That gallery, instead of selling the paintings on behalf of De Niro, used the paintings to settle the gallery's debts with Benucci S.r.l., which operates galleries in Rome," a statement from the Willkie Farr & Gallagher law firm said.
"Based on documents that have been provided to us, it appears that in June of 2007, Salander-O'Reilly Galleries attempted to settle $5 million in debt that it owed Benucci by delivering over 50 paintings," the Post reported the statement said.