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Did Slipped Disc persuade airport to release precious instruments?

A couple of hours after we posted that the instruments of the Sao Paolo Symphony Orchestra were being held at the home airport because Customs were on strike, the entire cargo was mysteriously released – just in time for today’s concert.

A senior source at the orchestra tells us:  ‘It was no doubt important to show that the subject attracted international attention, and the Olympics should thank you for that too!’

Glad to be of service.

Meantime, Frankfurt remains deadlocked, refusing to return a seized Guarnerius violinto the Brussels-based Yuzuko Horigome until she pays a 380,000 Euro fine. A Slipped Disc reader has clarified the position by phone with the Customs authorities at Frankfurt airport.

They told her that when you enter Germany with an object whose value is higher than Euro 430 you must go through the red lane anytime and pay a 19% deposit of the value of an instrument, which is repaid when leaving the country.

Ms Horigome went through green and suffered a higher penalty.


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  1. Mark Pemberton says:

    So on that basis if you arrive in Germany carrying an iPad, you should also go through the red lane and pay the deposit. Nonsensical!

  2. Tor Fromyhr says:

    Norman, your advocacy carried a remarkable amount of influence in these matters. This German rule is insane if it is as you appear ( to me) to indicate. Does that mean every musician who visits Germany with their instrument is supposed to pay this ‘deposit’? If true, it is very discriminatory as it would seem to only penalize airline passengers. Or, am I totally misunderstanding the issue?

  3. It would be interesting to know whether this “deposit” still applies if you have owned the instrument over 1 year, or if it doesn’t if you can document a longer period of ownership. If it does, this means she would have had to carry 190.000 euros as deposit… making it hardly practical to travel with a really expensive instrument, or even with a more modest one. There really should be some sort of document enabling musicians to fly with their instruments without having to go through this sort of hassle and worry.

  4. Ms. Horigome was caught red-handed smuggling a violin into the EU (not Germany), for which the Input Value Added Tax hadn`t been paid, and can expect charges for tax evasion. PERIOD.

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