Tuesday 19 March 2013

Dealer Dikmen's Stock Returns to Cyprus

Samarcheolog notes that items seized in the investigation of smuggling in the 1990s have finally been returned to Cyprus by Germany ('Cyprus: return of tens of millions’ worth of conflict antiquities, looted from churches in occupied areas', Conflict Archaeology March 19th). Some 214 artefacts were found by Munich police in the possession of Turkish antiquities dealer Aydin Dikmen. They were found ‘hidden  inside the walls and under the floorboards in two apartments kept by Dikmen in Munich, under false names’
There [...] were difficulties in making a criminal case: the key informant (and mastermind of and lead in the police sting operation), Dutch art smuggler-dealer Michel van Rijn, received death threats,  so he didn’t testify. Then, there were difficulties in making a civil case: the art had to be proved to have been removed from churches in Cyprus after the Turkish invasion. 
Anyway, the stuff has gone back, and the experiences of Michel van Rijn are a reminder that some not-very-nice people are involved in the trade in antiquities.  Who does your local ("trusted") dealer know, and with whom does he in fact through his chain of supply do business?  

Vignette: Cyprus mosaic

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