There was a press release this afternoon about the outcome of Giacomo Medici's appeal against his conviction for handling antiquities ("Italian art dealer's looting conviction upheld", AP July 15, 2009). The sentence has been reduced from 10 to 8 years.
The report continues:
The report continues:
Medici, who denies any wrongdoing, said after the closed-doors hearing that he would appeal the ruling to Italy's highest court. He remains free pending the appeal.Steve Scherer ("Rome Court Upholds Conviction of Antiquities Dealer", Bloomberg July 15, 2009) comments on a procedural error in the original trial that related to the Sarpedon krater.
In a 1995 raid on Medici's offices in Switzerland, police found a trove of artifacts and photos of antiquities, many still in pieces and covered with mud, which authorities later traced to museums and collectors worldwide.
Authorities maintain thousands of Roman, Etruscan and Greek treasures were stolen or clandestinely dug up across Italy in the last decades, then smuggled out of the country and sold by dealers such as Medici.
Rome's campaign to recover the looted art has pushed top museums, including the J. Paul Getty in California and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to return dozens of pieces in exchange for long-term loans of other treasures.
The Medici probe also sparked other court cases, including the ongoing trial of former Getty curator Marion True and art dealer Robert Hecht, accused of knowingly acquiring dozens of allegedly looted ancient artifacts.
Both deny any wrongdoing.
The 2004 procedural error raised in Medici’s appeal was that the trial judge at first declared in a verbal sentencing that Medici was innocent of handling the Met objects, and then later said he had made a mistake. The judge pronounced him guilty when he submitted his written conviction.Mike Boehm ("Dealer who sold antiquities to Getty loses looting appeal", LA Times July 15, 2009) extends the report to reflect on Marion True:
True has not denied that she bought works for the Getty from Medici and Hecht but says she acted in good faith, not knowing they had been dug and exported in violation of laws safeguarding Italy's ancient artifacts.