HBJ Gateley Wareing property partner David Boyce has appeared in court charged with conspiracy to rob and extort money in connection with the theft of a Leonardo da Vinci painting worth some 30 million pounds ($54 million).
Boyce is the latest person to become involved in the case and joins a group of men, including former HBJ Gateley corporate partner Calum Jones who was arrested at the Anglo-Scots firm's Glasgow office last October.
Boyce, who was charged by police in July, is understood to have agreed to step down before being charged. Jones also resigned shortly after he was charged by police last year.
The charges are in connection with the 2003 theft of the "Madonna of the Yarnwinder" -- thought to be the biggest art crime in U.K. history.
It has been reported that the group of men are accused of demanding 4.25 million pounds ($7.6 million) for the safe return of the painting.
It is understood Boyce and Jones have both recently pleaded not guilty to the charges at the High Court in Glasgow.
The painting was recovered last year after a major police operation. It is understood Jones was having a meeting at HBJ Gateley's Glasgow branch with an insurer, a valuer and an art expert when police raided the office. The 16th-century painting was discovered in the building.
A spokesman for HBJ Gateley said: "It was announced to the staff this afternoon at HBJ Gateley Wareing that David Boyce will be stepping down from the firm effective at the end of the month."
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