Louvre probe: Prosecutors seize five Egyptian antiques from the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Edited By: Vyomica Berry
New York Updated: Jun 03, 2022, 09:29 AM(IST)

In this combination of images, a Fayum portrait of a lady in a blue coat, dating from Nero’s reign can be seen along with a mummy (Courtesy of the District Attorney's Office New York) Photograph:( Others )

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According to the Manhattan district attorney's office, the artifacts date back approximately between 250 and 450 BC. The antiques are worth over $3 million and depict a scene from the Book of Exodus.

As a part of an international trafficking investigation involving the former head of Paris's Louvre Museum, five Egyptian antiques have been seized from the Metropolitan Museum of Art by prosecutors in New York.

According to the Manhattan district attorney's office, the artifacts date back approximately between 250 and 450 BC. The antiques are worth over $3 million and depict a scene from the Book of Exodus.

A court document shows that their confiscation was ordered by a New York state judge on May 19 shortly after which the Louvre's manager from 2013 to 2021, Jean-Luc Martinez was charged with "concealing the origin of criminally obtained works by false endorsement."

The famous case has garnered a lot of media attention in France, with investigative weekly Canard Enchaine saying that the fraud is thought to involve several other art experts.

According to The Art Newspaper, which first reported the news, the five pieces seized from the Met were purchased by the famous museum between 2013 and 2015.

Calling itself "a victim of an international criminal organisation," the Met said it is fully cooperating with the investigation.  

However, this is not the first time the museum has become a victim of false statements and fake documentation.

The Met had to return the gilded sarcophagus of the priest Nedjemankh to Egypt in 2019 after it was found that it had been stolen during the revolts against ex-president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

According to a report by the Manhattan district attorney, Roben Dib, owner of a gallery in Hamburg was involved in the sarcophagus's sale to the Met.

(With inputs from agencies)

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