A former curator from Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts stood trial for selling the school's precious artworks and replacing them with fakes, court authorities confirmed on Tuesday.
Xiao Yuan sold authentic paintings and calligraphy worth more than 34 million yuan (5.48 million U.S. dollars), replacing them with fakes, the Intermediate People's Court in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province in south China, said in a press release after the hearing.
It said Xiao took advantage of his post to steal 143 paintings and calligraphic works from the library between October 2002 and March 2010, including priceless traditional Chinese paintings by renowned artists Zhang Daqian and Qi Baishi.
He collaborated with two auction firms to sell 125 of the works for more than 34 million yuan between 2004 and 2011. The remaining 18 pieces in his possession were valued at 76 million yuan, the court said.
Xiao pled guilty at the court hearing, saying he was willing to auction all his property to compensate the school's losses.
The court is yet to hand down a ruling.