A lawyer's fee of â‚¬12 million (US$15.7 million) for negotiating the return of art stolen by the Nazis was too high, a court ruled Friday.
Lawyer Roelof van Holthe tot Echten submitted the multimillion-dollar bill for arranging the return of hundreds of works that had belonged to a Jewish art dealer who fled the Netherlands at the start of World War II.
The heirs of Jacques Goudstikker contested the bill, so the lawyer sought to block the return of 198 works being held by the Dutch government until he was paid 20 percent of the estimated value.
Goudstikker's daughter-in-law Marei von Saher and his granddaughters Charlene and Chantal von Saher, who live in Connecticut, refused, offering to pay an hourly rate instead. The Hague District Court sided in part with the descendants, allowing them to ship the works to the United States.