Friday, 28 December 2012

Guilty Plea: Tarby Going Home Soon

We learn this morning from Rick St Hilaire's blog ('Guilty Plea in Dinosaur Smuggling Case') that in a press release it has just been announced that Florida  “commercial paleontologist” Eric Prokopi has pleaded guilty to the smuggling of Mongolian dinosaur fossils and conspiracy in the case of a Chinese one. More importantly for the US government, he agreed to forfeit the proceeds of these acts including "any and all [...] fossil parts of Mongolian origin that Prokopi brought into the country between 2010 and 2012". That will include the reconstructed fossil sold by Heritage Auctions against the wishes of the Republic of Mongolia which started this wholae affair. I cannot imagine Procopi's lawyers being too chuffed at the way this went, which is probably why some of them are refraining from making any "Cultural property Observations" about this outcome.

Slap on wrist sentencing by the US "flawed" criminal justice system due on April 25, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.

Here is a list of my previous posts on the 'Tarby' affair:

Sunday, 20 May 2012 : Heritage Auctions Prevented From Selling Mongolian Fossil 

Sunday, 20 May 2012: Heritage Auctions Defies Texas Court Order 

Monday, 21 May 2012: Heritage Auctions unaware of any treaty?
Meanwhile all those who bought Mongolian fossils on eBay from Mr Prokopi between 2010 and 2012 are laughing that they got away with it. How many do you think will be voluntarily be turning their purchases in to the authorities? And when they are sold on, as long as the seller does not admit where they came from, in a mechanism like that of dodgy dugups, they enter the market perfectly legally. But is that right? Is it ethical for a seller now to withold that information? What happens in situations when a seller's 'reputation' is the only guarantee that a dug-up is 'kosher', if that dealer subsequently is shown in a court of law to have been trading in 'non-kosher' objects - do all and any objects that were sold on the basis of that person's 'reputation' not become 'tainted'? How come?

UPDATE 28.12.12
Nikhil Kumar, 'Florida fossils dealer smuggled Tyrannosaurus skeleton worth $1m', Independent 28 December 2012.

UPDATE 29.12.12

How touching, a certain gentleman (I use the term loosely) on the south coast of Britain has been (for only the second time since Mr Procopi's arrest I believe) spending some time searching through my blog to see what he can learn about Mr Procopi's fate -  is this somebody who is now, and only now, trying to read up on the case out of concern for mr P. or in his own self-interest?  As a result of this case, will the British authorities be getting the details of who was exporting Mongolian and other fossils from the UK to Florida, and if they do, will they actually do anything about that?

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