Dozens of artifacts seized from Metropolitan Museum of Art | Crime

According to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, dozens of ancient artifacts that investigators believe were looted have been seized from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

The office seized 27 artifacts from the Met using three search warrants. They will be repatriated to their home country, a spokesperson for District Attorney Alvin Bragg told CNN.

“We have two repatriation ceremonies next week, one with Italy and one with Egypt,” the spokesperson told CNN. “Fifty-eight items will return to Italy, 21 from the Met. Sixteen to Egypt, six from the Met.”

Bragg’s office did not specify where the other artifacts were seized from, or describe the artifacts seized.

“It should be no secret to collectors, art museums and auction houses that they may be in possession of pieces from known traffickers that have been illegally looted,” Bragg said. “My office’s investigations have clearly exposed these networks and put into the public domain a wealth of information that the art world can proactively use to make antiquities in their place legitimate.”

“Our investigations, which resulted in the repatriation of nearly 2,000 objects, will continue,” he added.

CNN has contacted the Met for comment.

The effort to return cultural artefacts to their country of origin after being sold illegally to private collectors or museums continues. In August, New York officials returned 30 antiques in Cambodia, including a 10th-century Khmer sculptural “masterpiece”.

Officials also returned stolen antiques worth nearly $14 million in Italy in July, including dozens of artifacts seized from US billionaire Michael Steinhardt.

In 2021, the Met rendering three african art objects, including a pair of brass plaques from 16th century Benin, Nigeria. The move came after European museums began returning stolen African art to their countries of origin following growing pressure to make artifacts irreplaceable plundered during the colonial era.


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