Home Arts Looted artifacts linked to disgraced British dealer Robin Symes returned to Italy

Looted artifacts linked to disgraced British dealer Robin Symes returned to Italy

by godlove4241
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Italy has recovered 750 archaeological objects worth an estimated €12 million following a long legal battle with disgraced British antiquities dealer Robin Symes (84).

The collection was unveiled yesterday at a press conference held at the National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome and attended by Italian and Greek officials. Dating from the 8th century BC. AD to the medieval period, artifacts include ancient marble busts, mosaic fragments, clay vessels from Pompeii, a decorated lead sarcophagus, and Etruscan jewelry in gold, bronze, and amber. After being looted in central and southern Italy, the objects had been stored in facilities in London. They were transferred to Rome on May 19.

The restitution marks the next step in Symes’s fall from grace. A legal dispute between the family of the dealer’s Greek partner, the late Christo Michaelides, led to the discovery of a vast collection of looted items stored at nearly 30 facilities in London, New York and Switzerland. Symes was sentenced in 2005 to two years for contempt of court. Further investigation by Italian authorities in 2016 revealed that the dealer had hidden 45 cases of stolen Greek, Roman and Etruscan artefacts in the Geneva freeport storage warehouse. Symes’ former company, Symes Ltd, is currently in the process of being liquidated.

The 750 items were returned to Rome after a 17-year legal battle that culminated in a settlement with Symes Ltd liquidators signed on May 11, the ANSA news agency reports. The Carabinieri, the Italian artistic squad, carried out the investigation, before the Italian and Greek ministries of culture, prosecutors in Rome, the Italian state prosecutor and the Italian embassy coordinated their efforts to recover the objects.

“When countries play as a team, they always get results,” said Mario Turetta, secretary general of Italy’s culture ministry, at the conference. Eleni Sourani, Greek Ambassador to Italy, added that Greece and Italy were “celebrating a victory in a difficult, complex and long fight against those who try to take advantage of our history”.

The works could soon be exhibited, suggested Gennaro Sangiuliano, Italy’s Minister of Culture. “What has been returned should never be locked up in repositories but placed in museums or exhibited in other initiatives, so that it is immediately accessible to the public,” he told the conference. .

Another 71 artifacts from the same collection will be transferred to Italy by the United States in the coming days, while Italian and Greek archaeologists will study additional fragments so they can be returned to their home countries, the ministry said. of Culture in a press release. Following a separate agreement with the Greek authorities, 350 Neolithic and Byzantine objects linked to Symes were returned to Greece in May.

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