Leonard Patterson, accused of illegally exporting some 1,400 pieces of pre-Colombian art from Spain was acquitted by a court in Santiago de Compostela, his attorney announced Tuesday.
The court found no proof showing that the antiquities belonged "to the Spanish Historical Heritage," defense lawyer Ramon Sabin said. The deeds that were considered to be proven do not constitute any crime, the judge found.The case involved an assemblage of pre-Colombian antiquities valued at 53.5 million euros which had been exhibited at several different venues in Santiago de Compostela. After that, they were then kept for a decade in a secure store in the warehouses of the Boquete moving company. In March 2008, Patterson - resident in Germany - tried to move them to Munich. He was accused of antiquity smuggling and prosecutors had sought a two-year prison term and a fine of 60 million euros for him. During the trial, both the accused and his attorney tried to show that the regional government of Galicia took charge of the arrival of the collection in Spain and that nobody warned Patterson of the need to ask permission of the Culture Ministry to return the pieces to Germany.
Agencia EFE, 'Spanish court acquits man accused of trafficking antiquities', October 22, 2013.