Saturday, 5 December 2015

French Finance Minister calls for Stricter Controls on Illicit Antiquities

David Chazan, 'Isil antiques 'sold to western collectors' warns French finance minister' Telegraph 04 Dec 2015
 Art treasures looted by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) are ending up in the hands of western dealers and collectors, according to the French finance minister, Michel Sapin. He called for stricter controls to prevent Isil from profiting in the illicit trade in antiquities [...] “Isil is also engaged in an illegal trade in antiquities and works of art and it is not just wealthy Iraqis and Syrians who are buying them but the western market too,” Mr Sapin said. The valuable treasures are believed to pass through several intermediaries and are often sold with forged documentation. “The trafficking channels extend to major European and American dealers,” the minister said. The finance ministry has circulated a list of items likely to have been looted by Isil to the French association of antiques and antiquities dealers. The ministry has urged them to pay particular attention to mosaics, statues, sculptures and fragments of bas-reliefs, and to report suspicious transactions to the French body responsible for preventing money laundering, Tracfin. [...] He has sent “firm instructions” to French customs officers, urging them to seize suspicious antiquities before they are brought into the country. 

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