Man arrested over murder of Russian art dealer found headless in river 10 years ago

Aleksandr Levin was 65 when he died in 2013 (Korps Nationale Politie)
Aleksandr Levin was 65 when he died in 2013 (Korps Nationale Politie)

A man has been arrested in connection with the murder of an art dealer whose torso was found in an Amsterdam river.

Dutch Police said they took a 62-year-old into custody on Tuesday - 10 years after the remains of Aleksandr Levin were spotted in a blue plastic bag near the city’s docklands in the IJ River at the end of January 2013.

Because of the way Levin’s body had been dumped, with his head and limbs severed, investigators were not able to use fingerprints or dental records to identify him.

They only established who the victim was almost a decade later, when Levin’s DNA was matched with a relative in Russia through the International Criminal Police Organization.

Police, who confirmed Tuesday’s arrest to The Guardian, did not identify the suspect but revealed he is from Amsterdam and was living near where Levin’s body was found.

They also said that the suspect’s DNA was found on Levin’s torso and the “packing material” used to cover it.

Levin, 65 when he died, flew from St Petersburg to the Dutch capital on January 17, 2013, where he was supposed to catch another flight to the Spanish island of Gran Canaria the next day. But he never showed up.

He was well-known in St Petersburg for dealing in Orthodox icons but also had a history in illegal art possession and trafficking.

In 1998, Levin was handed a 10-month prison sentence in the Netherlands for possessing a rare 18th-century atlas which reportedly belonged to Moscow’s national library.

When police went on to search his apartments, they are said to have found hundreds of other stolen items.

Levin’s son, who did not want to be fully named for fears over his safety, said he was “thankful” about the arrest but added: “I would like to know who killed my father and what for. There are so many questions left unanswered.”