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The Met Museum: Over 1,000 objects in the collection are linked to traffickers and robbers
The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has more than 1,000 objects in its collection linked to people allegedly involved in crimes related to the antiquities trade, according to a new report from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). , causing an increased control. of the largest and most visited museum in the USA. At least 1,109 pieces in the Met's collection were previously owned by individuals who have been indicted or convicted of crimes, including robbery and trafficking. Of these objects, less than half have records available detailing how they left their countries of origin. And of the more than 250 antiquities at the Met relating to Nepal and Kashmir, two countries particularly badly affected by looting,
According to the ICIJ, many objects in the Met's collection also have clear links to individuals who have been implicated in the looting or trafficking of antiquities. The museum has almost two dozen pieces that once belonged to the American antiques dealer Robert E. Hecht. The Met began acquiring artifacts from Hecht in the 1950s, and continued to do so even after Hecht was charged by Italian prosecutors with smuggling in 1959 and 1961. The case against Hecht was later dropped when the statute of limitations expired and Hecht died. in 2012 after repeatedly denying any role in the illegal export of art. The Met also has more than 800 objects that once belonged to Jonathan P. Rosen, a business partner of Hecht's who was indicted along with Hecht in Italy in 1997. The Cleveland Museum of Art agreed to return objects in its collections from Rosen in 2008 after learning they were allegedly stolen, and in 2013, Cornell University agreed to return about 10,000 ancient Iraqi tablets donated by Rosen, according to “The Los Angeles Times". At the time, Rosen's attorney denied that the tablets were illegally purchased.
Another 85 pieces in the Met's collection are linked to Subhash Kapoor, who was sentenced last year to 10 years in prison in India for trafficking offences.