Sunday, 29 December 2013

Third US Arrest in Kapoor Case

The indictment of the girlfriend of Manhattan's Indian American antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor, the third person criminally charged in the US in the case, has revealed the fake ownership histories of stolen Indian artefacts palmed off to museums across the world (citing "Chasing Aphrodite" blog).
The Manhattan District Attorney's Office has criminally charged Kapoor's girlfriend Selina Mohamed with participating in a decades-long conspiracy to launder stolen antiquities by creating false ownership histories. She is also charged with, more recently, helping to hide four stolen bronze sculptures as investigators closed in on Kapoor [...] Prosecutors allege that since 1992 Mohamed has been involved in the fabrication of bogus ownership histories for dozens of objects Kapoor sold to museums around the world. Since 2007, she also had nominal control over several of Kapoor's storage facilities. The possession charges relate to Mohamed's alleged role in the disappearance of four of Kapoor's stolen bronze sculptures -- two of Shiva and two of Uma -- valued at $14.5 million. Kapoor instructed his gallery manager to send the Chola-era bronzes to Mohamed's house in November 2011, the complaint states. After federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations searched Kapoor's Art of the Past gallery and storage facilities in January 2012, Mohamed insisted that the bronzes be removed from her house. They are now missing.
Selina Mohamed was arrested 20th December and has been charged with four counts of criminal possession of stolen property and one count of conspiracy, court records show.  

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office also charged Selina Mohammed with running three storage units in New York that stored looted antiquities. There is an interesting oddity about reports on the case. Nowhere is it explicitly said what Ms Mohamed does for a living (presumably somewhere in the Manhattan area), nor are there any photographs of her linked to the Kapoor case. Does Ms Mohamed have a connection with the fine art trade like Mr K's previous business associate and girlfriend? Just curious.

Kapoor's sister Sushma Sareen has been indicted and gallery manager Aaron Freedman, pleaded guilty to six criminal counts earlier this month (there is also a US arrest warrant out for Kapoor).

IANS, 'Indian American art dealer palmed off stolen Indian artefacts', December 27, 2013

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