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New York returns millions worth of stolen art to Italy

Published: 07/09/2022 By The Abode Team

Over the last nine months dozens of antiquities which were stolen from Italy have been returned.  Some of the them were found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It seems that traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and for many years they have been in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to them.

The stolen items had been sold to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s leading collectors of ancient art, who has been issued with a lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities.  Among the recovered treasures, which in some cases were sold to unwitting collectors and museums, were a marble head of the Greek goddess Athena from 200 B.C.E. and a drinking cup dating back to 470 B.C.E. The pieces were stolen at the behest of four men who apparently all led highly lucrative criminal enterprises – often in competition with one another – where they would use local looters to raid archaeological sites throughout Italy, many of which were insufficiently guarded.

One of them, Pasquale Camera, was a regional crime boss who organized thefts from museums and churches as early as the 1960s. He then began purchasing stolen artifacts from local looters and sold them to dealers in antiquities.

It is said that this year alone the New York DA’s office has organised the return of 300 antiquities, valued at over €65 million, to 12 countries.