Steinhardt collection: 47 stolen antiquities return to Greece

Forty-seven of the smuggled Greek artifacts, among dozens donated by American billionaire wealthy hedge fund-maker Michael Steinhardt, under an agreement with the US government, will be returned to Greece in the coming days, the Culture Ministry announced Thursday.

The antiquities to be returned come from Central Greece, Crete, the Cyclades (Paros, Naxos), Samos and Rhodes.

Marble Kuros. It dates back to 560 BC. Height 78.8 cm. Probably the work of a Boeotian workshop.

Outstanding exhibits include a Minoan shrine, a kouros sculpture, a bronze bust of a griffin, Cycladic vessels, figurines and bronze swords.

Bronze bust of a griffin. Dates back to 660-630. BC E. Height 31.24 cm. Origin from Samos.

“I thank the American authorities, their staff, and especially the District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos, as well as the staff of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, who helped in the work to document and return antiquities illegally exported from Greece, including in the Steinhardt collection,” a statement Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni.

Over the past three years, the Office for Documentation and Protection of Cultural Property of the Greek Ministry has been assisting the US authorities in their investigation, helping to trace the origin and trafficking of items that have been exported from Greece.

The news follows a statement by the Manhattan District Attorney (DA) on Monday that Steinhardt, one of the world’s largest collectors of ancient art, is in possession of looted artifacts smuggled out of 11 countries by 12 criminal networks.

Following an investigation by a grand jury, the collector agreed to hand over 180 stolen pieces of art, totaling $ 70 million. He also agreed never to collect antiquities again. No criminal case was opened. Read more at artnetnews.

According to the district attorney, the US investigation was carried out in cooperation with the authorities of Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Turkey.

* photographs courtesy of the Greek Ministry of Culture.

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