New York returns 30 pillaged relics to Cambodia, Indonesia

by Admin
New York returns 30 pillaged relics to Cambodia, Indonesia

NEW YORK: New York prosecutors said on Friday (Apr 26) they had returned to Cambodia and Indonesia 30 antiquities that were looted, sold or illegally transferred by networks of American dealers and traffickers.

The antiquities were valued at a total of US$3 million, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said.

Bragg said in a statement that he had returned 27 pieces to Phnom Penh and three to Jakarta in two recent repatriation ceremonies, including a bronze of the Hindu deity Shiva (“Shiva Triad”) looted from Cambodia and a stone bas-relief of two royal figures from the Majapahit empire (13th-16th century) stolen from Indonesia.

Bragg accused art dealers Subhash Kapoor, an Indian-American, and American Nancy Wiener in the illegal trafficking of the antiquities.

Kapoor, accused of running a network trafficking in items stolen in Southeast Asia for sale in his Manhattan gallery, has been the target of a US justice investigation dubbed “Hidden Idol” for more than a decade.

Arrested in 2011 in Germany, Kapoor was sent back to India where he was tried and sentenced in November 2022 to 13 years in prison.

Responding to a US indictment for conspiracy to traffic in stolen works of art, Kapoor denied the charges.

“We are continuing to investigate the wide-ranging trafficking networks that … target Southeast Asian antiquities,” Bragg said in the statement.

“There is clearly still much more work to do.”

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