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New antiquity charges filed > II November 22, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
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Greece filed criminal charges on Wednesday against a London-based shipping heiress and her three children in connection with a large cache of unregistered antiquities discovered in a luxury villa on the tiny island of Schinoussa.

Public Prosecutor Eleni Raikou filed felony charges related to antiquities smuggling and the illegal possession and sale of valuable artifacts against Despina Papadimitriou and her children, Alexandros, Ageliki and Dimitris. All four suspects maintain that they came into the possession of the 152 rare and valuable artifacts, discovered in both Schinoussa and a residence in Athens, via inheritances. One of the items is what archaeologists hope to be a Roman copy of a famous work by ancient sculptor Praxiteles.

The charges come just one day after another Athens prosecutor filed criminal charges against five people for illegal excavation, smuggling and receiving stolen goods, in connection with an ancient golden wreath owned by the Getty Museum in Los Angeles that was allegedly looted in Greece.

Greek authorities believe that former Getty curator Marion True played a key role in the exchange. She was charged last year in Rome along with art dealer Robert Hecht with conspiring to deal in looted antiquities. They deny any wrongdoing and the museum continues to pay for True’s defence.

The museum is currently in an international dispute between Italian and Greek officials over allegations that True knowingly received dozens of antiquities that were stolen from private collections or dug up illegally. Her villa on the island of Paros has been raided twice in the past two months, where Greek detectives discovered dozens of unregistered antiquities.

An investigation by the Athens police illegal antiquities smuggling department revealed that the funerary wreath was sold to the Getty Museum in 1993 for 1.15 million dollars and that five people were involved in the artifact illegally reaching the United States. According to police, the wreath, which dates to 320-300 BC, was discovered by a farmer in northern Greece.

The Getty Museum has already returned two ancient sculptures to Greece after pressure from the government. Greek authorities are also in talks with the museum over the return of a 6th century marble statue and are investigating how this and a number of other antiquities ended up with their current owners.

New antiquity charges filed > I November 22, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece.
comments closed

Criminal charges were filed yesterday in connection to the alleged theft and illegal sale of an ancient gold wreath which is now owned by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

In the latest development in Greece’s investigation into illegal antiquities, Athens prosecutor Andreas Karaflos issued charges of illegal excavation, smuggling and receiving stolen goods against “persons unknown.”

An investigation by the Attica police’s illegal antiquities department revealed that the funerary wreath was sold to the Getty Museum in 1993 for $1.15 million and that five people were involved in the artifact illegally reaching the USA.

According to the police probe, the wreath, which dates to 320-300 BC, was discovered by a farmer in a village in Serres, northern Greece, in 1990 while he was performing an illegal excavation. The wreath was then sold to two Greek men in Munich, Germany, police sources said. With the help of a Serb man, the pair contacted an antiquities dealer in Switzerland who arranged for a deal to be reached with the museum in LA.

Greek authorities believe that former Getty curator Marion True played a key role in the exchange. True is on trial in Rome accused of having knowingly bought stolen artifacts for the museum. True denies any wrongdoing.

Sources at the Culture Ministry said yesterday that the police investigation strengthened Greece’s hand in trying to negotiate for the return of the wreath. The Getty Museum has already returned two ancient sculptures to Greece after pressure from the government.

Greek authorities are also in talks with the museum over the return of a 6th century BC marble statue and are investigating how this and a number of other antiquities ended up with their current owners.