Subscribe

 

Thursday, July 9, 2020

MANHATTAN DA’S OFFICE RETURNS ANCIENT MARBLE SARCOPHAGUS FRAGMENT TO GREECE

Hellenic News
Hellenic Newshttps://www.hellenicnews.com
The copyrights for these articles are owned by HNA. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of HNA and its representatives.

Must read

Obituary: Mary Anagnostou of Wilmington, DE

Mary E. AnagnostouAfter a brief, but swift illness, Mary Anagnostou passed peacefully to sleep on January 19, 2018, at her home in Wilmington, Delaware...

Greek-American Lawyer seeks to uphold the law for businesses affected by COVID-19

National Business Interruption Claims   The Hellenic News of America had the pleasure of interviewing Attorney Peter Palivos, who lives in Las Vegas and is considered...

Now’s not the time to get complacent about COVID-19, says Dr. Halkitis, Rutgers’ Dean of Public Health

By: David Bjorkgren, Senior EditorSpecial to the Hellenic News of America Perry N. Halkitis, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.H., the Dean of Rutgers School of Public Health,...

Young Greek-American Entrepreneur Continues to Expand His Family Dental Business in Chicago

By: Aphrodite Kotrotsios, PublisherSpecial to the Hellenic News of America Peter Alemis is a young entrepreneur who has stepped into the family business and has...

Latest articles

Presvytera Golfo Nikas has passed away peacefully

Beloved and adored mother, Presvytera Golfo (Drouviotou) Nikas, passed peacefully from this temporal life into eternal Paradise on July 5, 2020, after a brief...

Για να σωθεί η Πατρίδα: Σχολεία πατριδογνωσίας

Ένα σε κάθε ενορία.“Έσκασε σαν βόμβα στην γειτονιά”. “Έπεσαν από τα σύννεφα οι κάτοικοι της περιοχής”. “Δεν έδωσε ποτέ δικαιώματα”. Είναι οι γνωστές αφόρητες κοινοτοπίες...

The Hellenic Initiative Raises $100K in COVID-19 AID for Greece

Greeks from around the world unite around THI in support of Greece Athens, Greece (July 08, 2020) - More than 400 contributors from around the world including...

The Maids of Athena Celebrate 90 years of sisterhood

Congratulations to the Maids of Athena as the organization celebrated its 90th anniversary on July 5!In 1930, Supreme Governor Thomas D. Lentgis founded the...

“Ακαδημία Ελληνισμού – Επιστροφή στις Ρίζες”

Aπο το Τμήμα AHEPA HJ25 Άγιος Ανδρέας με Πρόεδρο τον κ. Δημήτριος Χαρ. ΜουτουσηΤο Τμήμα AHEPA HJ 25 Άγιος Ανδρέας ξεκινά Εκπαιδευτικό Πρόγραμμα Φιλοξενίας  Ελληνοπαίδων Εξωτερικού ηλικίας...

Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

Repatriation Ceremony Follows Recovery of Artifact Stolen in 1988 and Smuggled Abroad

Thanks for reading Hellenic News of America

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the return of an ancient marble sarcophagus fragment to the Hellenic Republic during a repatriation ceremony attended by the Consul General of Greece in New York, Dr. Konstantinos Koutras, and ICE Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Brett Dreyer.

“Trafficked antiquities often acquire a veneer of legitimacy after the passage of time or changes in ownership,” said District Attorney Vance. “Galleries, auction houses, and art collectors, however, should be on alert that my Office and our partners in law enforcement are closely following the listing and sale of items of suspicious or dubious provenance. As looting becomes more common, collectors must exercise greater scrutiny when it comes to evaluating whether an item may have been unlawfully acquired. To do otherwise is to implicitly endorse an unacceptable practice through willful ignorance. I thank our partners for their commitment to ending the trade of stolen antiquities, and today, I am gratified to return another treasured artifact to its rightful owner, the Hellenic Republic and people of Greece.”

Consul General of Greece, Dr. Koutras stated: “On behalf of the Hellenic Republic, I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to the District Attorney of Manhattan, Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., for his contribution to this achievement, as we proudly accept a part of our heritage. This marvelous marble sarcophagus dated around the 2nd century A.D. will now be returned where it belongs, to Greece. It will be displayed at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens with a special reference that will point out the decisive contribution of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for its repatriation. Sadly, in the past, our country has suffered from cruel and continued smuggling of its antique artifacts, and even to this day, a very important part of our heritage remains scattered throughout the world.

“The artistic expression of every human age and culture is part of our global and perennial heritage. Art, culture, and tradition transcend time and space. This global, collective expression should in no way be confined within the physical borders of any country, as regrettably is still the case today, especially with numerous ancient Greek artifacts.

“The fruits of the ancient Greek civilization, which have largely inspired and shaped the modern notions of democracy, philosophy, science and the arts, should be shared and enjoyed universally. It is, therefore, essential that they be exposed to as large a public as possible. It is imperative that they be shielded from exploitation. They belong to the world, and are not to be sequestered or used to serve or safeguard private interests.”

“I applaud the tremendous investigative efforts by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the Consul General of Greece in New York, and our HSI Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities unit for working together to recover and return the ancient marble sarcophagus that was stolen nearly 30 years ago,” said Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge of HSI New York. “The return of this piece of artwork is another excellent example of what can be accomplished when law enforcement authorities in the U.S. and abroad partner to identify and recover historic, stolen works of art.”

 

 

As part of an ongoing joint investigation with partners in international law enforcement, in January, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office seized pursuant to a search warrant the ancient marble sarcophagus fragment from a gallery in Midtown Manhattan, where it was displayed as the centerpiece. The item, which originally dates back to 200 A.D. and depicts a battle between Greek and Trojan warriors, was stolen from Greece in 1988. The artifact was then smuggled abroad and transported through Europe before finally landing in New York.

Once presented with evidence of the theft, the Manhattan-based art gallery forfeited the item willingly, and the repatriation ceremony represents the return of the ancient sarcophagus fragment to Greece, where it will be displayed for public view and research at the National Archeological Museum of Athens.

Recent Repatriations

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has recently recovered and repatriated several items forfeited as part of criminal investigations and prosecutions:

  • In August 2014, five ancient coins dating as far back as 515 B.C. were returned to Greece following the investigation and prosecution of Arnold Peter Weiss, a coin collector who was convicted of multiple counts of Attempted Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fourth Degree for possessing several coins that the defendant believed to be stolen dekadrachma and tetradrachm from the Sicilian cities of Agrigento and Catania.
  • In April 2016, a 2nd century Buddhist sculpture valued at more than $1 million was returned to Pakistan following the investigation and prosecution of Tatsuzo Kaku, an art dealer convicted of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property for acquiring and selling stolen antiquities smuggled out of South Asia.
  • In May and June 2016, two bronze statues and four carved artifacts dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries A.D. and valued at several millions of dollars were returned to India following a series of seizures conducted as part of an investigation into international antiquities trafficking.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos, Senior Trial Counsel, handled the recovery of the ancient marble sarcophagus fragment. The recovery was made possible by the efforts of Dr. Christos Tsirogiannis, Affiliate Researcher at the Scottish Centre of Crime and Justice Research, University of Glasgow, and lecturer for the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art (“ARCA”) in Italy.

District Attorney Vance thanked HSI New York and the Consulate General of Greece in New York for their assistance with the matter.

###

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.