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Robert De Niro testifies in New York larceny trial


Actor Robert De Niro arrives at the 'Stone' premiere during the 2010 Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Doha October 28, 2010. REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous
Actor Robert De Niro arrives at the 'Stone' premiere during the 2010 Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Doha October 28, 2010. REUTERS/Mohammed Dabbous

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oscar winning actor Robert De Niro told a packed Manhattan courtroom on Friday he had never received payment from an art gallery director on trial for allegedly pocketing the proceeds of three paintings by his late father, Robert De Niro Sr.

The gallery director, Leigh Morse, 54, is accused of having wired $77,000 directly to a personal bank account after selling the paintings without informing De Niro, who administers his father's estate.

She has pleaded not guilty to charges of larceny.

In reply to questions, De Niro said he had been entitled to 50 percent of the proceeds of all his father's art work but never received payment for the paintings in question. They were sold to a San Francisco art gallery.

"That I have a problem with," he said .

Morse was formerly employed by art dealer Lawrence Salander, who in March 2010 pleaded guilty to engineering a nearly $100 million art investment scam that duped de Niro, tennis great John McEnroe and major figures in the art world.

Morse's lawyers have said that she should not be punished for the crimes of her boss.

Robert De Niro Sr. - who died in 1993 - was well known for his abstract Expressionist paintings, and taught in several art schools in the United States.

(Reporting by Bernd Debusmann Jr., editing by Greg McCune)

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