Egyptian Artefacts Stolen During Arab Spring Seized in New York City
The former President of the Louvre in Paris had recently been charged with conspiring to hide the origin of Egyptian artefacts in his museums - many of which were smuggled during the 2011 Arab Spring.
New York prosecutors have seized USD 3 million worth of artefacts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of the ongoing investigation in the Louvre case. The former President of the Louvre in Paris, Jean-Luc Martinez, had recently been charged with conspiring to hide the origin of Egyptian artefacts in his museums - many of which were found to have been smuggled out of the country during the 2011 Arab Spring.
In 2018, the Louvre case was opened after the Louvre’s Abu Dhabi branch bought a rare pink granite stele fashioned after King Tutankhamun in 2016. The investigation found that the French experts who certified this stele also certified a gilded coffin that was sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017, which belonged to the ancient priest Nedjemankh.
The other seized artefacts included pieces of linen depicting a scene from the book of Exodus, dating back to 250-450 BC. The Metropolitan Museum of Art purchased the pieces between 2013 and 2015.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art has since released a statement claiming that it was a victim of false documentation, and would return the artefacts including the coffin to Egypt.