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Egypt court sentences former Italian honorary consul to 15 years for smuggling artefacts

Investigations showed that the artefacts were obtained by a former minister’s brother and shipped in a container under the Italian consul's name

El Sayed Gamal El Din, Tuesday 21 Jan 2020
Egyptian Artefacts
Egyptian Artefact (Photo: Ahram)
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An Egyptian court sentenced in absentia on Tuesday Italy's former honorary consul to 15 years in prison on charges of smuggling Egyptian artefacts to Europe.

Ladislav Otakar Skakal, the former honorary consul in Luxor, faced charges of smuggling around 22,000 artefacts from various historical periods from Egypt's Alexandria to the Italian port of Salerno with the help of Egyptian nationals, the Egyptian public prosecutor said in September.

At the time, Egypt asked Interpol to add Skakal to its red notice, which would require his arrest.

The case involves other defendants, including the brother of Mubarak-era finance minister Youssef Botros Ghaly, who has been on trial in the case since October 2019. Some other suspects are still unidentified.

Investigations showed that the artefacts were obtained by the former minister’s brother and shipped in a container under the name of the Italian consul, and so was not subjected to inspection due to diplomatic immunity, a judicial source said.

The artefacts, which date to various historical periods, were found by Italian police in May 2018 and returned to Egypt in late June.

That collection included coins, pottery vessels from different eras, sarcophagus parts and objects from the country’s Islamic period.

Egyptian prosecutors found also ancient Egyptian relics when they searched Skakal’s Cairo residence, and seized other pieces that he had kept in a safe, a statement said last September.

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