The works have a total value of $4.5 million. The Brazilian Ministry of Finance, Guido Mantega, said the art is believed to have been acquired at auctions abroad.

It is suspected the works were hidden among the belongings of a 75-year-old Brazilian woman in an attempt by the company to use the woman to evade taxes as art can enter the country without being taxed, on the condition it is declared as baggage. However, in this instance the owners tried to hide the source of the money used to purchase the works in question.

Consequently, the works will become part of the national art collection if the owners fail to come forward and explain how they came to own the artworks. Included in the container were pieces by Brazilian artists including Beatriz Milhazes and the twin graffiti artists known as Os Gêmeos (Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo.) A Sérgio de Camargo valued at $900,000 sculpture was also hidden in a another container.

The works have been transferred to the National Museum of Fine Arts in Rio de Janeiro where they will remain in storage.

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