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The painting was retrieved in a police raid on a solicitors’ office in Glasgow where four men were arrested.

All four have now been charged with conspiracy to rob and extort money and they have been granted conditional bail while the investigation continues.

Estimated to be worth anywhere between £20m and £40m, the painting was owned by the ninth Duke of Buccleuch who died aged 83 last month. It was stolen in broad daylight from Drumlanrig Castle in Scotland in August 2003 by thieves posing as tourists. A £1m reward was offered for its recovery.

Last week’s raid followed a four-year international investigation involving officers from the Dumfries and Galloway and Strathclyde police, as well as the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

It has been reported that the painting was taken overseas following the theft and that one of the men arrested was a lawyer working on a contract which would allow the repatriation of the painting after a third party made contact earlier this year regarding its whereabouts.