NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. authorities returned about 250 antiquities to India on Thursday in a long-running investigation of a stolen artwork scheme.
The objects, value an estimated $15 million, had been handed over throughout a ceremony on the Indian Consulate in New York Metropolis. The centerpiece is a bronze Shiva Nataraja valued at $4 million, authorities mentioned.
The ceremony stems from a sprawling probe by the Manhattan district lawyer’s workplace and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The investigation has targeted on tens of hundreds of antiquities allegedly smuggled into the USA by seller Subhash Kapoor, who has denied the allegations.
The case “serves as a potent reminder that people who maraud sacred temples in pursuit of particular person revenue are committing crimes not solely in opposition to a rustic’s heritage but in addition, its current and future,” District Legal professional Cyrus Vance Jr. mentioned in a press release.
Authorities say, Kapoor — jailed in India and dealing with prices there pending a U.S. extradition request — used his Arts of the Previous gallery in New York to site visitors looted treasures from India and varied international locations in Southeast Asia. The investigation has resulted in the restoration of two,500 artifacts valued at $143 million and convictions of six Kapoor co-conspirators, Vance mentioned.
The Shiva Nataraja bronze was bought by the mom of Nancy Wiener, a gallery operator who pleaded responsible within the case this month to prices of conspiracy and possession of the stolen property, authorities mentioned. Nancy Wiener bought looted objects to main museums in Australia and Singapore, they mentioned.
In June, the district lawyer’s workplace returned greater than two dozen artifacts value $3.8 million to Cambodia as a part of the investigation. One other 33 objects had been despatched again to Afghanistan in April.
Court docket papers filed in New York says Kapoor went to extraordinary lengths to amass the artifacts, lots of them statues of Hindu deities, after which falsified their provenance with solid paperwork. They are saying Kapoor traveled the world looking for antiquities that had been looted from temples, houses, and archaeological websites. A number of the artifacts had been recovered from Kapoor’s storage models in New York.
Kapoor had the objects cleansed and repaired to take away any injury from unlawful excavation, after which illegally exported them to the USA from their international locations of origin, based on U.S. prosecutors.
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