MOSCOW, December 15 - RAPSI. Arthur Properties, which has sued the U.S. ABA Gallery specializing in Russian art, has specified its claims as amounting to no less than $9.6 million, according to the court records made available to the Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI/

The Luxembourg-based Arthur Properties alleges that it was defrauded by the gallery while buying 18 pieces of art from the 19th and 20th century. The art was largely overestimated and some of the paintings were forged, the company said. Initially, it set the damages at $8.9 million, claiming to have paid $6.5 million more than the art's market value and $2.4 million for forged paintings.

The plaintiff insists on the deal's termination and seeks damages.

Arthur Properties believes that it paid more than 80 percent more than the market value for art by Ivan Aivazovsky estimated by the gallery at $4 million, and also purchased a forged painting of Ivan Shishkin's "In the Woods" for $1 million.

The paintings in dispute were purchased by Ukrainian citizen Oleksandr Savchuk for personal enjoyment. Part of the payments were made via the Luxemburg companies Kahdena Ventures Corp. and Brooke Ventures Ltd., which are controlled by Savchuk.

The forgery of four artworks was exposed by a forensic analysis conducted by the Swiss Kunstberatung Zurich AG in November-December 2008 upon Savchuk's request.

The gallery's owner Anatoly Bekkerman doubts the complaints against him.

The Bekkermans are well-known in the world of art. Anatoly's daughter is Senior Vice President, Russian Paintings, at Sotheby's in New York.