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The Fano Athlete: Seizure Order

Yesterday it was announced that an Italian court had ordered the seizure of the ancient bronze known as "The Fano Athlete" from the J. Paul Getty Museum ("Court orders seizure of Getty Bronze", ANSA February 11, 2010). Judge Lorena Mussoni has ruled that the bronze should be confiscated.

Jason Felch has written about the decision in today's LA Times ("Judge orders statue seized", LA Times February 12, 2010). He cites the prepared response from the Museum.

The full statement is available from the Getty's website.

LOS ANGELES—“The Getty is disappointed in the ruling issued February 11 by Judge Mussoni in Pesaro, Italy, involving the Statue of a Victorious Youth, often referred to as the Getty Bronze. The court’s order is flawed both procedurally and substantively.

“It should be noted that the same court in Pesaro dismissed an earlier case in 2007 in which the same prosecutor claimed the Statue of a Victorious Youth belonged to Italy. In that case, the judge held that the statute of limitations had long since expired, that there was no one to prosecute under Italian law, and that the Getty was to be considered a good faith owner.

“In fact, no Italian court has ever found any person guilty of any criminal activity in connection with the export or sale of the statue. To the contrary, Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, held more than four decades ago that the possession by the original owners ‘did not constitute a crime.’

“The Getty will appeal the Pesaro court’s order to the Court of Cassation in Rome and will vigorously defend its legal ownership of the statue.”

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