The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, October 23, 2021

French archaeologist and husband charged over Mideast antique trafficking
In this file photo taken on February 24, 2009 A Christie's auctioneer proceeds at the Grand Palais in Paris with the auctions of hundreds of art treasures amassed by late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and his companion Pierre Berge over half a century. Five people suspected of participating in an antiques smuggling ring exploiting conflict and unrest in Middle Eastern countries to spirit out works for sale in France have been detained for questioning in Paris, a judicial source said on June 23, 2020. Antiques worth tens of millions of euros are thought to have been taken from countries including Libya, Syria, Egypt and Yemen, often through the renowned Pierre Berge auction house based in Paris, a source close to the inquiry told AFP. PIERRE VERDY / AFP.

PARIS (AFP).- A prominent French archaeologist and his husband were charged on Friday as part of an investigation into an antique smuggling ring exploiting unrest in Middle Eastern countries to spirit out works to sell in France, sources said.

Christophe Kunicki and his husband Richard Semper were charged in Paris with a range of crimes including fraud, money laundering and forgery, a judicial source and a source close to the inquiry told AFP.

The pair were presented to a judge and released under judicial supervision.

The two men were arrested along with three other suspects on Monday and Tuesday during searches of prestigious Parisian art markets and antique dealers.

Antiques worth tens of millions of euros are thought to have been taken from countries including Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen, often through the renowned Pierre Berge auction house based in Paris.

The three other suspects -- Pierre Berge's director, a former curator at the Louvre museum, and an eminent Parisian gallery owner -- were released without facing the investigating judge.

Kunicki and Semper, widely respected figures in the rarified world of Parisian antiquities, are suspected of taking advantage of the instability that followed the Arab Spring in the early 2011 to loot ancient relics.

Such trafficking would likely have involved hundreds of relics valuing tens of millions of euros, according to sources close to the inquiry.

Agents from France's Central Office for the Fight against Traffic in Cultural Goods (OCBC) are investigating whether the high-profile suspects falsified the origin of the items with the help of intermediaries in the involved countries.

That invented history would then have allowed the items to be resold to individual buyers as well as globally esteemed institutes such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi and New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Kunicki, a Mediterranean archaeological specialist and member of the French Society of Egyptology, and his husband had previously been linked to a sarcophagus plundered in Egypt in 2011.

The sarcophagus of ancient Egyptian priest Nedjemankh moved through Dubai, Germany and Paris before Kunicki sold it to New York's Met for 3.5 million euros ($4 million) in 2017.

The Met held an exhibition named after the plundered item -- "Nedjemankh and His Gilded Coffin" -- before it was returned to Egypt in 2019 after an investigation revealed it was stolen during the uprising that ousted Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

© Agence France-Presse

Today's News

June 27, 2020

French archaeologist and husband charged over Mideast antique trafficking

David Shrigley transforms Copenhagen Contemporary's largest gallery space into a seething snake pit

UK teen who threw French boy off gallery balcony jailed for life

Eccentric Hippopotamus bathroom suite by François-Xavier Lalanne sells for $2.4 million at Sotheby's

Christie's announces new 20th & 21st Centuries Department

'Hamilton' is coming to the small screen. This is how it got there.

Norway starts digging up first Viking ship in a century

Wynton Marsalis finds solace in the optimism of the blues

Russian court finds director Serebrennikov guilty of fraud

K. H. Hödicke retrospective presents the artist's core creative phases from the early 1960s on

Li Zhensheng, photographer of China's Cultural Revolution, dies at 79

'Through art, I hope that we can make one Tulsa'

Philanthropy rises in pandemic as donors heed the call for help

Elsa Joubert, 97, dies; Afrikaans writer explored black reality

'Gone With the Wind' returns to HBO Max with a few additions

'We can't do our craft': Conductors contend with the pandemic

A Kashmir sapphire and the art of Hans Hofmann top Michaan's Summer Fine Sale Auction results

Books are a great fit for quarantine. The book business, not so much.

Galeria Jaqueline Martins explores the virtual possibilities wrought by the urgency of social distancing

The First Shoes handmade by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman to appear at auction achieve $162,500

Swann Galleries announces Deborah Rogal as Director of Photographs & Photobooks

Colorado State University selects artists for $1.3M campus public art program

Conan Doyle estate sues Netflix over 'emotional' Sherlock Holmes

Madagascar's 'Colosseum' sparks outrage

Different Religious Garment from wool

Are Video Slots Related To Video Games?

Art In Modern Gaming

Heavenly Horses

What sets apart Appeal Assassins from other reinstatement services

Your Ohio Divorce Plan/Get a Divorce Online

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

sa gaming free credit

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful