Friday, 13 July 2018

Operazione Demetra

Operazione Demetra
Source: Carabinieri
Earlier this month the Italian authorities issued a statement about Operazione Demetra with its focus on Sicily [press release, 4 July 2018; Carabinieri]. One of the key elements is that arrest warrants were served on individuals in London, Barcelona and Ehningen. They are listed as:
  • VERES William Thomas 64 anni, residente a Londra;  
  • PALMA Andrea 36 anni, originario di Campobasso, residente a Barcellona; 
  • MONDELLO Rocco, 61 anni, originario di Gela, residente a Ehningen.
Veres appears to be the same individual who handled the Steinhardt gold phiale when it passed through Switzerland ('Caveat emptor', The Economist 16 September 1999). He also appears to have sold ancient coins, largely minted in Turkey, to the British Museum. (A British individual with the initials W.T.V. was arrested in an antiquities related incident near Seville in August 2017.)

It appears that two auction houses in Munich are under investigation (John Phillips and Justin Huggler, 'Italian police smash £30m international ancient artefact smuggling ring', The Daily Telegraph 4 July 2018).

This investigation appears to be shining fresh light on the network of handlers moving archaeological material from Italy.

The British Museum will no doubt be reviewing the material acquired from this source.

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