Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Most of Medici Conviction Upheld

In Rome an appeals court has upheld the conviction of art dealer Giacomo Medici, for his role in supplying museums and collectors around the world with antiquities looted from tombs and smuggled out of Italy. The case is especially important because evidence gathered in the investigation (such as thousands of photos found in a 1995 raid on Medici’s Geneva warehouse) has been used to question the legitimacy of the acquisition of numerous objects by US (in particular) museums such as New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Confronted with such evidence that they had been looted and then smuggled out of Italy, red-faced museum trustees have had no option but to return the items in question to Italy. The archaeological evidence destroyed in the clandestine digging of which these objects are the product however can never be returned.

In Medici’s December 2004 conviction he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and a 10 million-euro ($14 million) fine for smuggling, receiving stolen antiquities and conspiracy. After the appeal, the sentence was reduced to eight years. The charges of conspiracy and receiving remain, along with the fine. Medici called Italy a "Mickey Mouse state" and said he was going to appeal the latest judgement. Medici has been free during the appeals process.

Through what was described as a “procedural error” by Rome Judge Guglielmo Muntoni in 2004, Medici was cleared of receiving stolen antiquities that ended up at the Metropolitan (including the iconic 2,500-year-old krater by the Greek painter Euphronios looted from an Etruscan tomb sold to them in 1972 for $1 million by American dealer Robert Hecht.

Hecht and the Getty’s former antiquities curator, Marion True, have been on trial in Rome since 2005 for conspiracy and handling looted antiquities. Hecht is also charged with smuggling. Hecht and True deny the charges.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.