New York authorities return 30 looted artifacts to Cambodia, Indonesia

New York authorities return 30 looted artifacts to Cambodia, IndonesiaNew York authorities return 30 looted artifacts to Cambodia, Indonesia
via HSI New York
Michelle De Pacina
12 days ago
New York authorities have facilitated the return of 30 looted artifacts to Cambodia and Indonesia.
Key points:
  • Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York, in collaboration with the New York County District Attorney’s Office, repatriated 27 artifacts to Cambodia and three to Indonesia in separate repatriation ceremonies.
  • The repatriation comes amid ongoing investigations into trafficking networks targeting Southeast Asian antiquities.
The details:
  • All 30 artifacts, which are valued at an estimated total of nearly $3 million, were either looted, illegally sold or transferred by networks of art dealers and traffickers, including Subhash Kapoor and Nancy Wiener.
  • Kapoor, the target of the U.S. justice investigation “Hidden Idol,” was sentenced to 13 years in prison in 2022 for his involvement in trafficking. In 2021, Wiener pleaded guilty for her involvement in trafficking looted artifacts, which she sold to public and private collections through her art gallery. 
  • The artifacts returned to Cambodia include a standing stone Harihara, a bronze dancing Shiva and triad and a bronze seated Buddha. Those returned to Indonesia include a bronze standing Vishnu and a bronze enthroned Buddha.
  • “For years, these pieces were in the hands of people who saw nothing beyond the profit and status of their illicit possession,” said HSI New York Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo. “HSI New York’s Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Group has worked tirelessly with international partners to take these small steps in seeking justice against some of the world’s most prolific traffickers.”
  • Despite significant progress, District Attorney Alvin Bragg emphasized their ongoing efforts to investigate trafficking networks. New York remains a major hub for relic trafficking, with authorities seizing works from various sources, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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