Friday, July 15, 2011

North American Charges: The Network

Yesterday's news about the charges brought against dealers and a collector of Egyptian antiquities in North America appears to be part of a much wider picture. Zahi Hawass has now written about the story.
In 2009, U.S. customs authorities seized a shipment of antiquities on their way to a gallery in New York City. This shipment included an ancient Egyptian coffin, which the Ministry of State for Antiquities (then the Supreme Council of Antiquities) was able to help authenticate. By investigating this and other suspicious shipments, Homeland Security investigators were able to reveal a network of smugglers and collectors that reached to Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Iraq, and other countries.
It will be interesting to learn about the UK connection. Who is involved?

It also looks as if this could be part of a larger criminal network:
According to evidence gathered by the investigators, the suspects had been using their New York gallery to import and sell stolen artifacts, allowing them to funnel large sums of money to other criminals in many parts of the world.
I suspect more information will be released when the legal wheels start to turn.

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