Greek Ministry of Culture in contact with Greek-American New York DA on looted antiquities
Investigators raided the office and the Manhattan home of the billionaire Michael H. Steinhardt, carrying off several ancient works that prosecutors say were allegedly looted from Greece and Italy. Mr. Steinhardt, a hedge-fund manager and philanthropist, has been collecting art from ancient Greece for three decades and has close ties to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where one of the galleries is named after him.
Among the pieces seized from Mr. Steinhardt was a Greek white-ground attic lekythos — or oil vessel — from the fifth century B.C., depicting a funeral scene with the figures of a woman and a youth, according to the search warrant. Its worth is estimated at $380,000 minimum.
Also seized were Proto-Corinthian figures from the seventh century B.C., depicting an owl and a duck, together worth about $250,000. The other pieces included an Apulian terra-cotta flask in the shape of an African head from the fourth century B.C.; an Ionian sculpture of a ram’s head from the sixth century; and an attic aryballos, a vessel for oil or perfume, from the early fifth century. The objects were all purchased in the last 12 years for a total cost of $1.1 million, according to the warrants.
The seizures marked the latest action in an effort by the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., to repatriate looted antiquities located in New York City to their countries of origin. Last month, Mr. Vance formed an antiquities-trafficking bureau to keep up the work, putting it under the leadership of Greek-American Matthew Bogdanos, an assistant district attorney who is a classics scholar and has headed most of the investigations, according to protothema.gr
The Greek ministry of Culture announced that it is in contact with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office regarding the looted Greek antiquities seized during a raid at the office and home of a billionaire in New York.