NY prosecution seizes over $3 million-worth Egyptian artefacts from Met Museum in Louvre probe

Ahram Online , Saturday 4 Jun 2022

New York prosecutors have announced seizing five Egyptian artefacts worth more than $3 million from the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of an investigation into international trafficking involving the Louvre Museum.

A compilation of evidence images released in a search warrant issued by the Supreme Court of the Sta
A compilation of evidence images released in a search warrant issued by the Supreme Court of the State of New York on 19 May, 2022 showing three of the Egyptian artefacts confiscated from Metropolitan Museum. AFP


The artefacts include a group of painted linen fragments that date back to between 250 and 450 BC depicting a scene from the Book of Exodus, AFP reported, citing the Manhattan district attorney's office as saying.

The artefacts have been confiscated as per an order by a New York state judge in May, according to a court document.

The seized artefacts are part of an investigation in which Jean-Luc Martinez, former president of Paris’ historic landmark Louvre museum, has been charged last week with complicity in fraud.

Martinez, who ran the museum between 2013 and 2021, has been charged with conspiring to hide the origin of the Egyptian archaeological artefacts.

Investigators suspect that the Egyptian treasures were smuggled from Egypt during the revolution against late former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Met Museum purchased the five seized pieces between 2013 and 2015, reported The Art Newspaper. The museum said it was "a victim of an international criminal organisation."

In 2019, the famous New York museum also returned the gilded sarcophagus of the priest Nedjemankh to Egypt, which was stolen during the 2011 protests, according to NY prosecutors.

The Louvre case was opened in July 2018, two years after the Louvre's branch in Abu Dhabi bought a rare pink granite stele depicting the pharaoh Tutankhamun and four other historic works.

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