five Egyptian coins seized from the Met Museum in New York

Published on : 02/06/2022 – 20:50Modified : 02/06/2022 – 20:48

New York (AFP) – New York justice has seized five Egyptian pieces in the possession of the prestigious Metropolitan Museum in New York but potentially from looting, a new development of the investigation carried out in Paris into antiquities trafficking involving the former boss of the Louvre .

According to a court document obtained by AFP, a New York State Supreme Court judge on May 19 ordered the seizure of these five antiquities, including the funeral portrait of a woman dated from the years 54 to AD 68, worth approximately $1.2 million, and a group of five painted linen fragments depicting a scene from the Book of Exodus, dated between 250 and 450 BC- C., valued at $1.6 million.

“The exhibits were seized pursuant to this warrant,” said a spokesperson for the Manhattan prosecutor’s office, adding that it was the “same investigation” as that opened in Paris, in which the former president and director of the Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, is charged.

According to The Art Newspaper, which revealed the information, the five pieces were purchased between 2013 and 2015 by the Met Museum in New York.

This photo, resulting from a warrant from the Supreme Court of New York, shows an Egyptian antiquity seized by American justice from the Metropolitan Museum in New York. This is a grave portrait of a woman dated to AD 54-68, valued at approximately $1.2 million Handout Supreme Court of the State of New York/AFP

Asked Thursday by AFP, the museum referred to a previous statement where he said he was “victim of an international criminal organization” and assured “cooperate” with the authorities.

In 2019, the great New York museum had already returned to Egypt a golden sarcophagus that it had bought in 2017 but turned out to have been stolen in 2011, in the midst of revolutionary tumult in this country.

The Met then had to abruptly interrupt an exhibition devoted to this coffin made for Nedjemankh, priest of the ram-headed god Heryshef.

The Parisian investigation seeks to establish whether, among hundreds of pieces looted during the Arab Spring in several countries of the Near and Middle East, some were acquired by the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Several of the accused protagonists, including the owner of a gallery in Hamburg (Germany), Roben Dib, remanded in custody, are also involved in the sale of the sarcophagus to the Met Museum, according to a 2019 report from the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

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