A Brooklyn art dealer has reportedly recently sold nearly $500,000 worth of ancient religious artefacts that had been plundered from Nepali and Indian temples, Manhattan prosecutors say. It is expected that a dealer will be arrested in the near future for selling three sculptures of Hindu and Buddhist deities between June 2012 and March 2013 despite knowing the artifacts were stolen, according to civil court papers filed by Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. The Manhattan District Attorney's Office declined to comment. The dealer received a Samvara statue as a consignment from an individual whose identity was withheld in the DA’s court papers, but even after he reportedly learnt that it had been stolen in 1983 from the Itum Bahal Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal, court papers say he sold the artefact to a client in Beijing in February 2013 Court papers included details of a number of other statuary sales, including a ninth century statue of a Hindu deity. A day before the sale, the statue was exhibited at the Upper East Side’s Arader Galleries during the city’s Asia Week, an annual celebration of Asian art. After the showing, according to investigators, an unnamed individual showed the dealer a photograph of the statue that indicated it had been stolen from a temple in India. The dealer:
replied that he would take the statue off the market to determine whether the statue had been pilfered, the court papers say. Instead the next day he slashed his asking price of $70,000 by $15,000 and sold the artifact to a buyer in London, according to investigators.The dealer was a former associate of Doris Wiener, and his Upper East Side gallery was featured in the New York Times last month in a roundup of Asia Week exhibits. A law enforcement source says the investigations are not over and said the accused dealer was a "minor player" in a much larger investigation.
James Fanelli, 'Brooklyn Art Dealer Accused of Selling Stolen Ancient Artifacts for $500K' DNain April 2, 2015