New York returns $19 million worth of art stolen from Italy – News
Some of the pieces were found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
For illustrative purposes only. Photo: AFP
New York prosecutors on Tuesday returned dozens of antiques stolen from Italy and valued at around $19 million, some of which were recovered from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“These 58 pieces represent thousands of years of rich history, but traffickers across Italy have used looters to steal these items and line their pockets,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said. noting that this was the third such repatriation in nine months.
“For too long they have sat in museums, homes and galleries that had no legitimate right to their property,” he told a ceremony attended by Italian diplomats and officials. of law enforcement.
The stolen items were sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world‘s foremost collectors of ancient art, the prosecutor’s office said, adding that he was slapped with a “first lifetime ban on acquiring antiques”.
Among the treasures recovered, which in some cases were sold to “unwitting collectors and museums”, were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena dating from 200 BCE and a drinking cup dating from 470 BCE. officials said.
The coins were stolen at the behest of four men who “all ran very lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with each other – where they used local looters to attack archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of them n ‘were insufficiently guarded,’ the prosecutor’s office said. said.
One, Pasquale Camera, was “a regional crime boss who organized museum and church robberies as early as the 1960s. He then began buying stolen artifacts from local looters and reselling them to antique dealers,” he added.
He said this year alone, the DA’s office has “returned nearly 300 antiquities valued at over $66 million to 12 countries.”
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