101 suspects arrested and rare cultural treasures recovered in huge global investigation
Two huge international police operations targeting the trade in stolen artworks and archaeological artefacts have led to the arrest of 101 people and the recovery of more than 19,000 items, including a pre-Columbian gold mask, a carved Roman lion and thousands of ancient coins.
Interpol said particular attention had been paid to monitoring online marketplaces. In the course of a “cyber patrol week”, officers led by the Italian carabinieri gathered information and identified targets that led to the seizure of 8,670 cultural objects offered for sale online.
“The number of arrests and objects show the scale and global reach of the illicit trade in cultural artefacts, where every country with a rich heritage is a potential target,” said Interpol’s secretary general, Jürgen Stock.
“If you then take the significant amounts of money involved and the archaeology best secrecy of the transactions, this also presents opportunities for money laundering and fraud as well as financing organised crime networks.”
Europol said law enforcement agencies across the world needed to combat what it termed a “global phenomenon” that went well beyond the trade in looted artefacts, and that was closely related to other kinds of widespread criminal activity.
“Organised crime has many faces,” said its executive director, Catherine de Bolle. “The trafficking of cultural goods is one of them: it is not a glamorous business run by flamboyant gentlemen forgers, but by international criminal networks. You cannot look at it separately from combating trafficking in drugs and weapons: we know that the same groups are engaged, because it generates big money.”
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.