Illegal & Illicit

Ex-Getty antiquities curator appears in Italian court

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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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


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


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

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


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

Marion True hearing postponed to March

Postponement is due to document translation troubles


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


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

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


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

"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.


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


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

Art marketarchive

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

Judge orders smashing of Giacometti plaster models

Founder of unauthorised casts sentenced to ten years


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


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