German gov't knew of Munich art find for 17 months

BERLIN (AP) — The German government knew for 17 months that a huge trove of art, possibly including works stolen by the Nazis, had been found in Bavaria.

A spokesman for the Bavarian Justice Ministry says federal officials were informed about the find on March 21 or 22, 2012, less than a month after some 1,406 pictures were discovered in a Munich apartment.

Hannes Hedke told The Associated Press on Friday that a representative of the Chancellery in Berlin also was handed a list and photographs of the works seized at the time.

After the case was uncovered by the German magazine Focus this month, the government acknowledged only that it had been informed "for several months."

Jewish groups and lawyers for potential claimants have criticized the secrecy surrounding the investigation.