ATHENS – The Department of Culture and Sports, in an announcement Thursday, welcomed the successful outcome of a lengthy investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York City, which resulted in the restitution of 47 antiques stolen in Greece. During the course of the case, it was proved that of the thousands of objects from different cultures in a collection belonging to Michael Steinhardt, one of the world’s greatest art collectors, 180 were the product of trafficking in antiques and illegally exported from their country of origin.
âI thank the American authorities, their staff, and in particular District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos, as well as the staff of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, who have assisted in the work of documentation and recovery of antiques illegally exported from Greece, that have been included. in the Steinhardt collection. I would particularly like to thank the Ministry’s Directorate for Documentation and the Protection of Cultural Property, which fights relentlessly and daily against the illegal trafficking of our country’s cultural treasures, an objective which remains an unwavering political priority â, underlined the Minister. of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni.
According to the announcement, the ancient objects that will soon return to Greece came from central Greece, Crete, the Cyclades Islands (Paros, Naxos), Samos and Rhodes. Among them, the items that stand out include a Minoan sanctuary, a kouros sculpture, a bronze griffin bust, Cycladic vessels, bronze figurines and swords. For three years, the department responsible for the documentation and protection of cultural property has continuously assisted the American authorities in their investigation and helped to trace the origin and illegal trafficking of objects from Greece. He searched for information in a number of archives available to him, worked closely with specific Ephorias of Antiquities, and successfully coordinated this difficult task. According to the announcement, the result fully justifies the efforts of the services of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.