Illegal & Illicit

News
Antiquities & Archaeology

Online antiquities smugglers are taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis

Heritage watchdog sees rise in posts from trafficking groups on Facebook

News
Old Masters

Old Master scandal dealt fresh blow as Court of Appeal rejects arrest warrant

French investigation into Giuliano Ruffini, the prime suspect in the case, is hampered by Milan ruling

News
Animal welfare

E-commerce sites accused of fostering trade in ‘blood brushes’

Wildlife trust calls on artists and online markets to help stem illicit sales of Indian mongoose hair

Archive
Law

Italy sues for return of antique pottery which they claim to own under national law because they are objects of archaeological interest.

The US has filed a complaint in a federal district court to determine who owns 230 antiquities produced in ancient Italian pottery workshops

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Antiquities & Archaeology

What if Italy sold this 5,000-piece hoard of orphan antiquities?

Experts say the haul, the result of a 14-year investigation, could raise as much as €15m for the country’s cash-strapped archaeological service

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War & Conflict

MP Robert Jenrick leads campaign to stop Islamic State funding terror through trafficking

UK and US collaborate to cut off one of group’s top revenue streams

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Lawsuits

Collector Eskandar Maleki sues long-time friend and adviser Amir Shariat over profits

Maleki alleges deals were undisclosed, Shariat countersues for malicious falsehood and defamation

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Marion True

Has peace broken out after the trial of Marion True?

One writer says the pressure on American museums has eased, but another insists Italian prosecutors remain combative

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Marion True

The Marion True case has concluded, but how does the former antiquities curator of the Getty Museum feel about the outcome?

“Neither condemned nor vindicated”: Marion True on why it is hard to accept the lack of verdict after her five-year trial

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Marion True

Marion True case set for final hearing?

After more than 5 years of hearings, the case is finally closing

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Marion True

Marion True, former Getty curator, trial collapses

Victims include prime minister’s father-in-law and an old master art dealer

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Marion True

Marion True defence continues

“Stolen” antiquities put under microscope in Getty trial

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Marion True

Marion True trial: Expert archaeologist Rizzo ends prosecution testimony

As the testimony of the expert witness comes to a close, we look at what the next hearing will entail

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Marion True

Further documents link key defendants in Marion True trial

Hearings drag on into fifth year

Archive
Illegal & Illicit

Iran Foundation trustee found guilty of book theft from British Library and Oxford's Bodleian Library steps down from post

Farhad Hakimzadeh was given two years' imprisonment after it was learnt he had stolen volumes from the two UK institutions

Archive
Marion True

Getty letters analysed in Marion True trial

The letters aid claims that the Getty Museum were aware of the origin of the illegally excavated artefacts

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Marion True

“The Fleischmann Collection was just a front” - updates on the Marion True trial

The latest hearing in the Marion True trial links Getty to convicted dealer, again

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Marion True

Trial of Marion True and Robert Hecht over illegally excavated antiquities from Rome continues

Complications over reputation, paperwork, and repatriation

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Marion True

The Marion True trial: troubles in the courtroom

The hearings heated up when one of the defence lawyers threatened to abandon the trial if the prosecution continued its aggressive stance

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Marion True

The Marion True trial: investigation continues

The trial of former Getty antiquities curator continues with prosecutor Daniela Rizzo offering witness evidence

Archive
Marion True

Tomb robber takes the stand in Marion True trial

Evidence of illegally excavated antiquities in the collection of Getty is presented in court

Archive
Iran

Antiquities resembling those looted from Jiroft offered for sale by satellite of Manhattan's Salander O' Reilly Galleries

Gallery “unaware” of concerns over objects offered on website

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Marion True

November update on Marion True trial

The Art Newspaper reports

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Marion True

Marion True trial delayed by lawyers’ strike

This is in response to Italy's new liberalisation measures

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Marion True

The Marion True trial: continued struggle in the courtroom

Specific artefacts are called into question

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Marion True

The Marion True Trial: information from the courtroom; Sergeant of Carabinieri cross-examined

More evidence is scrutinised

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Marion True

Evidence of Getty Venus’s illicit origin shown to court

Trial of Marion True continues with more evidence against her presented in court

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Marion True

The Marion True trial continues: is there any progression in the courtroom?

The Art Newspaper reports on the events of the continuing trial

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Marion True

The Marion True trial continues: more information from the courtroom

However, both True and co-defendant Robert Hecht were absent

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Marion True

The Marion True trial: information from the courtroom

Evidence is discussed and documents are scoured

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Marion True

Ex-Getty antiquities curator appears in Italian court

Marion True made a surprise appearance on the first day of the trial

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Marion True

Now former Getty antiquities curator Marion True goes on trial this month

Marion True has resigned from the museum and the institution is to return three artefacts to Italy

Archive
Iran

Iran sues Barakat Gallery for return of antiquities apparently looted from Jiroft

The gallery's owner makes no comment on artefacts' origins, but insists that all purchases were made legally

Archive
Marion True

Italian case against Marion True postponed to November

The case, which is the result of a decade-long investigation by Italian police, has been delayed because crucial documents had to be translated

Archive
Unesco

Switzerland to implement 1970 UNESCO Convention legislation on 1st June

Switzerland’s is known for its pivotal presence in the underground network that moves illicitly excavated artefacts from country to country

Archive
Iran

36 arrested and 940 objects reclaimed as Iranian authorities apprehend antiquities smuggling ring

Iran has clamped down on illegal trade in antiquities, which has led to archaeological sites being promptly denuded post-discovery

Archive
Illegal & Illicit

Iran sentences Jiroft smugglers to death

It is the first time that Iranian courts have issued a harsh punishment for the illicit exportation of goods from an archaeological site

Archive
Lebanese

Lebanese antiquities dealers prosecuted in US and Egypt

Hicham Aboutaam has pleaded guilty in the US to a Customs misdemeanour while his brother, Ali, is seeking to have his conviction by an Egyptian court nullified

Archive
Illegal & Illicit

How the contents of Iran’s Western Cave were dispersed

Many of the objects, some extant since the first millennium BC, were looted from the site and entered the international market

Archive
Illegal & Illicit

Antiquities dealer arrested for smuggling Iranian artefact from raided archaeological site into US

Hicham Aboutaam sold the antiquity to a New York buyer for $950,000; the US says it is part of a the looted Western Cave hoard

Archive
Cambodia

Looters search areas of archaeological importance in Cambodia after bomb disposal experts have de-mined them

Illicit excavations occur as de-mined areas often show no signs of the riches below the surface so authorities do not deploy heritage security teams

Archive
Fraud

Former French Foreign Minister and a leading auctioneer ordered to trial over money kept back from Giacometti estate sales

Roland Dumas and Jacques Tajan face accusations of abuse of confidence after evidence suggests proceeds from auction were illicitly retained

Archive
Illegal & Illicit

Looted tombstone from Jiroft returned to Iran following its seizure by London police

After the tomb was discovered, Iran's Ministry of Culture were unable to prevent civilians from systematically emptying them of artefacts, which were then shipped overseas

Archive
Iran

London and Paris markets flooded with Iranian antiquities looted from newly discovered site at Jiroft

Before police intervened, thousands of objects were plundered by locals and sold on to Europe

Archive
Marion True

Marion True hearing postponed to March

Postponement is due to document translation troubles

Archive
Iraq

Details of National Museum of Iraq looting emerge

While the Warka Vase has been accounted for, reports suggest that the cylinder seal collection has vanished

Archive
Looted art

Unchecked looting of archaeological sites continues in midst of Iraqi war

The Art Newspaper takes inventory of the worst casualties

Archive
Unesco

Long the hub of the illicit antiquities trade, Switzerland is moving towards ratification of the 1970 Unesco Convention

Switzerland also debating new national legislation to make the movement of art and artefacts more transparent

Archive
Alberto Giacometti

Archives seized from Giacometti Association following family's wishes

Archives, boxes of drawings and documents pertaining to court procedures were confiscated by bailiffs, following the freezing of their assets last year

Archive
Unesco

In full: the text of the US Customs import restrictions on Italian archaeological material

The restrictions were imposed following a 1999 request made by Italy under Article 9 of the Unesco Convention

Archive
Antiquities & Archaeology

"My life as a tombarolo." The Art Newspaper goes underground in the world of illicit archaeology

Cristina Ruiz spent a day with the man who controls much of the illicit excavation on the site of ancient Veii, one of the largest Etruscan cities.

Archive
Exhibitions

Exhibition on tomb-robbers' effect on archaeological sites opens in Palestrina, Italy

Wounded archaeology

Archive
Unesco

China and US drafting anti-smuggling agreement

A full import ban may not be intended by the Chinese, merely a bilateral agreement to implement the 1970 Unesco Convention

Archive
Unesco

Deliberation over ownership of submerged vessels and their booty at the bottom of the ocean leads to Unesco intervention

An estimated three million shipwrecks lay undiscovered. UNESCO is calling for a global treaty to protect them. Salvors say it is unrealistic and unworkable, despite developments in deep-sea exploration technology

Archive
Art market

The market for antiquities is growing, unfazed by protesters

As last month’s antiquities sales boomed, The Art Newspaper surveyed leading dealers and specialists in New York

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Art market

Fears of a crackdown after the handover turns out to have been exaggerated, but the picture in Hong Kong is far from rosy

Hard times on Hollywood Road

Archive
Alberto Giacometti

Judge orders smashing of Giacometti plaster models

Founder of unauthorised casts sentenced to ten years

Archive
Iraq

Assyrian stone relief slabs from Sennacherib's Palace in Iraq may have been smuggled from the country and sold on

Professor John Malcolm Russell's personal connection to the objects left him well placed to recognise them in images from sales

Archive
Iraq

Iraq's cultural heritage continues to be depleted as museums and archaeological sites plagued by smugglers

In a lecture given at London's Institute of Archaeology, Dr Lamia al Galiani-Werr drove home the urgency of the issue

Archive
National Trust

National Trust serves a legal notice on the Marquess of Bristol's Ickworth House

National Trust tires of Marquess

Archive
Politics

Former Greek premier caught red-handed with illegal antiquities

Almost all Minoan antiquities assembled by former premier, Mr Mitsotakis, appear to have an illegal provenance.

Archive
Alberto Giacometti

Fake Giacometti furniture trial ends with jail sentences and fines for Jacques Redoutey and suppliers

Experts complain that large number of fakes in the market makes it difficult to identify authentic works

Archive
Alberto Giacometti

Police investigation finds Diego Giacometti's foundry grossed £14 million from unauthorised bronzes cast after his death

The "posthumous" sculptures passed through the hands several leading auction houses in Paris

Archive
Iran

Iran imposes capital punishment for illicit exportation of antiquities

This legislation may come to late, as several archaeological sites have already been looted, and their content distributed throughout the international market