antiquities dealer Nancy Wiener was arrested Wednesday morning in Manhattan and charged with conspiring with international smuggling networks to buy, smuggle, launder and sell millions of dollars worth of stolen Asian art thru leading auction houses, source say.More from Chasing Aphrodite 21st dec 2016. See also Cultural Heritage Lawyer ('Felony Charges Against NY Antiquities Dealer Begins Cultural Property Prosecution in State Court';Wednesday, December 21, 2016) for some of the legal details. Tom Mashberg's coverage ('Prominent Antiquities Dealer Accused of Selling Stolen Artifacts' NYT Dec ) says that the complaint against Ms. Wiener 'provides a rare look at how looters, smugglers, art dealers and others may conspire to plunder relics from Indian shrines or Cambodian jungle temples, ferry them into the United States, give them fake pedigrees, and burnish them for sale as lawful imports':
“Defendant used a laundering process that included restoration services to hide damage from illegal excavations, straw purchases at auction houses to create sham ownership histories, and the creation of false provenance to predate international laws of patrimony prohibiting the exportation of looted antiquities,” according to the complaint.These 'restorers' are as much part of the conspiracy - having the physical evidence before them, which they then remove or mask. Can the authorities release the names of restorers and conservators that have taken commissions from the Weiners?
This investigation is in connection with "(Not-really-all-that) Hidden Idol"and if the authorities are treating this seriously, we may expect other arrests to follow.