New York Authorities Have Seized 27 Illegally Looted Artifacts From The Met

New York federal agents have seized 27 antiquities worth up to $13m USD from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The investigation is part of a larger repatriation effort happening around the world to return looted artifacts back to their country of origin.

Amongst the rare artworks seized is a terra-cotta drinking cup, known as a kylix, which dates back to 470 B.C. and valued at $1.2m USD, along with a marble bust of the Greek goddess Athena from around 200 B.C.

According to a report first published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Manhattan district attorney’s office had obtained nine search warrants since 2016, six this year alone, stating that The Met possessed nearly 30 illegally looted artifacts in its permanent collection.

Some of the confiscated works have been linked to Gianfranco Becchina — who used to run an art gallery in Switzerland before being convicted by Italian authorities for a string of illegal dealings, but charges were dropped on statute of limitation grounds.

Thus far, The Met have fully cooperated with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, releasing the following statement: “The norms of collecting have changed significantly in recent decades and The Met’s policies and procedures in this regard have been under constant review over the past 20 years.”

21 artifacts will be returned to Italy, while the remaining six to Egypt.
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