A deputy culture minister in Italy is under investigation, accused of laundering stolen goods, in particular a Baroque painting that had been reported stolen from a castle in Piedmont, Italy, a decade ago.

The deputy minister, Vittorio Sgarbi, who is an art historian and critic, as well as a media personality, has said he is innocent.

The tale of the investigation began in 2013, when, according to police documents, a painting was reported stolen from the castle, which had been a restaurant for a time. Eight years later, in 2021, Mr. Sgarbi featured a painting called “The Capture of St. Peter,” attributed to the 17th-century artist Rutilio Manetti, from his own collection, in an exhibit that he curated in Lucca, Tuscany.

This month, prosecutors in the central Italian town of Macerata confiscated “The Capture of St. Peter,” saying in a statement issued with Italy’s art theft police that they believe that the painting reported stolen from the castle in Piedmont and the painting Mr. Sgarbi exhibited are one and the same. Mr. Sgarbi, though under investigation, has not been charged with a crime.

The inquiry comes after an investigation of the reported theft of the Piedmont painting by the daily newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano and “Report,” an investigative television program on the national broadcaster RAI 3, interviewing restorers and associates of Mr. Sgarbi.

The owner of the castle told the reporters and said in a police statement that the painting went missing shortly after a man had visited the castle and offered to buy the artwork, which she had refused to sell. The man was identified in the television investigation as a former collaborator and friend of Mr. Sgarbi.

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