Antiquities worth more than 20 million dollars returned to Greece

Gold brocade from ancient Greece worth 1.3 million USD. A 3,500-year-old coffin the size of a tree trunk, called a larva and decorated with undulating patterns, is valued at $1 million. But the most special of the 55 artifacts returned to Greece by the Manhattan district attorney’s office this week is a 2,500-year-old sculpture of a muscular young man, known as kouros, valued at $14 million. .

Court documents say it was purchased from Robert E. Hecht, a now deceased Paris-based antiques dealer, in 2000 for $2.3 million by Michael H. Steinhardt, billionaire pioneer in hedge funds last year. surrender 180 artifacts which officials determined was likely stolen from archaeological sites.

Kouros, sculpted circa 560 BC and depicting a young man with 14 rows of braids on his back, was among 55 illegal items – valued by officials for a total of $20.2 million – was delivered to the Greek government on Wednesday.

Investigators said 47 of the objects came from Steinhardt’s collection of Greco-Roman artefacts. Mr. Steinhardt agreed to turn over those items and more than 100 additional artifacts from nearly a dozen countries, worth $70 million in all, in December after officials said they had been illegally imported. law into the United States. As a result, Mr. Steinhardt, 81, agreed to a lifetime ban on antique purchases.

During a handover ceremony at the district attorney’s office, Greek Culture Minister Dr. Lina Mendoni thanked federal investigators and the office’s Antiquities Trading Unit, led by Assistant Attorney Mathew Bogdanos, worked with Greek officials to identify the items.

“The illegal trade in the cultural treasures of our country is a serious trauma that afflicts all Greeks around the world,” she said. “We work systematically to prevent this crime.”

Since announcing the settlement with Mr. Steinhardt in December, the district attorney’s office and Homeland Security Investigations officials have repatriated 200 confiscated items to Italy and 28 to Turkey. , 5 about Iraq and an antique war hat about Bulgaria.

During Wednesday’s ceremony, New York Homeland Security Investigations special agent Ricky J. Patel said: “The stories associated with many of these irreplaceable artifacts date back to ancient Greece. circa 6000-4000 BC, and tells the story of the history and culture of an older world. Thankfully, they will be returning home now, so their stories can be told for generations to come.”

In December, Mr. Steinhardt’s attorney said in a statement that “many of the dealers from whom Mr. Steinhardt purchased these items specified the agent’s legal title to the items.” They added that their customers “reserve their right to claim from the relevant dealer.” Antiquities worth more than 20 million dollars returned to Greece

Fry Electronics Team

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