British national officially charged with looting Egyptian antiquities

Amer Sultan in London, Tuesday 6 Aug 2013

UK police have officially charged a British national with looting Egyptian antiquities


Scotland Yard referred Neil Kingsbury to court after three months of investigations into suspicions that he smuggled Egyptian antiquities and tried to sell them through Christie's auction house.

"Kingsbury was charged with three counts of fraud by false representation," a Scotland Yard spokesman told Ahram Online.

Other charges include one count of possession of stolen property. The Scotland Yard's Art & Antiquities Squad (AAS) officers interrogated Kingsbury (63) late Monday.

Kingsbury is out on bail but due to appear in court on 20 August.

In May, Kingsbury was arrested when Christie's, the international arts auction house, reported that it had identified six antiquities which were almost certainly stolen from Egypt recently.

One of the stolen objects is a recent find from Amenhotep III in western Thebes.

The Egyptian red granite relief fragment depicts a Nubian prisoner facing right with short hair and wearing heavy, hooped earrings and a collar necklace (1550 - 1069 BC).

Another is an Egyptian painted limestone relief fragment depicting a male figure with his head facing left. Experts say it is very likely to have originated from a recently-rediscovered and excavated tomb, again in Thebes.

Ahram Online was told that the seller claims he had inherited the Egyptian objects from his uncle.

He told the international auctioneer that his uncle served in Egypt during WWII and stayed on for a few years before returning to the UK in the '50s.

Kingsbury's trial is expected to reveal the network that allegedly helped him steal the antiquities and smuggle it into the UK.

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