Showing posts with label Subhash Kapoor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Subhash Kapoor. Show all posts

March 5, 2017

India arrests Udit Jian, business associate and accomplice to accused American businessman Vijay Nanda


One month after India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) arrested American businessman Vijay Nanda at his residence in the Girgaum Chowpaty area of Mumbai and charged him with with smuggling historic artifacts to the United States, Europe and Hong Kong, Indian authorities have arrested his business associate and accompliceUdit Jain. 

Not his first brush with the law, Jain was also taken into custody by Chennai authorities in October 2016 for forging Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) certificates for the octogenarian smuggler, Govindaraj Dheenadhayalan (alternatively spelled "Deenadhayalan"). Dheenadhayalan was arrested in June 2016. 

In addition to serving as a middleman for Dheenadhayalan and Nanda, Jain is believed to have been procuring artifacts, stolen from temples, for Nanda and others, many of which were then exported to the Far East. 








February 12, 2017

Recovered: India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) locates more stolen pieces tied to US businessmen Vijay Nanda

Image Credit: News18 India
On February 07, 2017 India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) arrested American businessman Vijay Nanda at his residence in the Girgaum Chowpaty area of Mumbai charging him with with smuggling historic artifacts to the United States, Europe and Hong Kong.  Nanda had no legal documentation or registration as an antique dealer with the Archeological Survey of India, yet appears to be a principle player in an organized art smuggling syndicate that successfully moved India's heritage out of the country by hiding objects in shipments of furniture, handicrafts, and in some cases garment consignments. 

Typical Haveli, Gujarat region, India
According to news reports, after a more thorough search of a second floor godown (Indian term for warehouse or storage depot) in central Byculla yesterday, authorities recovered an additional 36 historic objects.  

The objects appear to be ornately carved Mughal style decorative elements that were likely removed from a historic Haveli (the vernacular dwelling type of the region of Gujarat and Rajasthan).  

The colorful objects recovered include 12 late Mughal style carved wooden columns, 12 archway ornaments depicting flowers and birds and 12 wooden pedestals, all protected under the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972.  The disassembled set of decor elements had been packed up securely, and were ready for shipment, though without any legitimate paperwork. 

Nanda has reportedly issued a confessional statement sometime after his arrest. That statement however failed to mention these additional objects secreted away. 

By: Lynda Albertson

February 8, 2017

How do you go about dismantling an Indian antiquities trafficking ring? One trafficker at a time.

Over the last year, officers of the Idol Wing–CID attached to the Tamil Nadu 
Economic Offences Wing (EOW) have been busy, dismantling an international network of antiquities smugglers, some of whom have links with the infamous New York-based art dealer on trial in Chennai, Subash Kapoor. 

On October 30, 2011 Kapoor was arrested at Frankfurt International Airport in connection with his role in running a $100 million international smuggling racket.  Extradited from Germany on July 14, 2012, Kapoor currently spends his time between two prisons: the Puzhal Central Prison, a central prison complex located in Chennai (Tiruvallur District) and the Central Prison at Trichy, Tamil Nadu, India. 

Before his arrest, Kapoor maintained contacts around the globe, in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Bangkok, Bangladesh, Dubai, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan, several of whom have been implicated in shipping and selling stolen objects from India, trafficked with fake provenance. At the height of his operation, Kapoor visited Tamil Nadu frequently which underscores the collector-dealer-smuggler-looter network all too clearly. 


May 31, 2016 - Police recieve a tip that stolen antique idols are being packaged for export from a location on Murrays Gate Road in Chennai’s upscale neighbourhood of Alwarpet. Three men are arrested, Maan Singh, "Kumar" and "Rajamani" who have been working for the octogenarian smuggler, Govindaraj Dheenadhayalan (alternatively spelled "Deenadhayalan").

Dheenadhayalan briefly disappears before turning himself in a few days later. 

During the raid of his house, Aparna Art Gallery in Alwarpet, Chennai, and a storehouse, police seized more than 200 ancient idols in bronze and stone, a large stone Nandis, 96 rare paintings, various miniature statues, ivory and wood carvings, lamps, figurines, ornamental pillars and pooja utensils.  

Image Credit: Hindu Existence 
June 04, 2016 - Four days after the search and seizure at his residence, smuggler Govindaraj Deenadhayalan surrenders to authorities. He is remanded into custody. 

June 24, 2016 - Following Deenadhayalan's confession, the Idol Wing CID arrest Mahabalipuram-based smuggler Lakshmi Narasimhan (also known as "Latchu","Lakshminarayanan" and "Narasimhan" ) and seize nine panchaloha idols dating back to Later Chola period (roughly 1,000 years ago).


July 02, 2016 - Following the arrest and subsequent interrogation of Lakshmi Narasimhan,  200 more idols are seized following the execution of a search warrant of the smuggler's gallery and godown.


October 25, 2016 - After further tip-offs, DRI raid the houses of Professor T. M. Balaji at T Nagar and the grandson of Dheenadhayalan, Srikanth Omkaram, at Valasarawakkam after receiving information that several antique idols and artefacts were being stored in their residences. Both men had been implicated as being part of Dheenadhayalan’s organisation.  

While being interrogated by authorities, the duo confess that they were smuggling objects out of the country using fake Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) certificates produced by another accomplice, Udit Jain, a forger from New Delhi.

Objects seized by authorities during the raid included a statue of Brāhmī, a Buddha in sitting posture, the deity Mahavishnu, stone pillar carvings and Tanjore paintings.

Following an alert by the Tamil Nadu DRI, the Mumbai DRI team intercepted Udit Jain in Mumbai and took him into custody. 


November 2016 - Reopening an 11-year-old case, authorities in India, with the help of HSI special agents, were able to identify the smugglers of the now repatriated religious stone idol of Vriddhachlam Ardhanari to two antique dealers in Mumbai. Vallabh Prakash and his son Aditya Prakash, operated Indo-Nepal Art Centre, a gallery which offered the stolen Ardhanari to Subash Kapoor who together smuggled the statue to the United States. Kapoor later sold the idol with false paperwork to the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2004.

Their arrest has been linked to the theft of 13 idols from the Sri Narambunatha Swamy Temple, Pazhavoor, Tirunelveli district and are believed to have smuggled antiquities through various routes, including Nepal.


February 6, 2017 - Indian authorities arrest, Vijay Nanda, an American citizen of Indian origin at his residence in Girgaum Chowpatty, in the Girgaon area of Mumbai, charging him with antique smuggling. 

Antiquities recovered from his warehouse in Byculla include statues stolen from various temples in both the eastern and southern India and include six large stone statues of the Hindu god Vishnu, the Buddhist  bodhisattva Padmapani, Varada Ganesha, Awalokateshwara, and figurines of Naga and Nagini as well as terracotta figurines from 1st Century A.D. and bronze figurines of Hindu deities Ganesh and Mahishasura dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.

A local court has remanded Nanda in judicial custody till February 20. 


We couldn't agree more. 

December 26, 2016

Some analysis of the Criminal Complaint against New York art dealer Nancy Wiener


In ARCA's December 25th blog post ARCA published the criminal complaint filed in Manhattan Criminal Court, signed by Special Agent Brenton Easter of the Department of Homeland Security, which indicated the charges presented against New York art dealer Nancy Wiener through her gallery Nancy Wiener Gallery.

Today we have thought to publish the sentencing guidelines should this defendant be convicted of the charges as well as a bit of distilled information about the individuals mentioned in the body of  the New York criminal complaint. 

In New York State, Criminal Conspiracy is punishable by law when one acts, agrees or performs with intent to commit a crime. Depending on the crime committed, a conspiracy charge could be prosecuted either as a NY State crime or as a United States Federal crime.  In this case a criminal complaint has been brought against Nancy Wiener for:

Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in First Degree – NY Panel Law 165.54

A person is found guilty of criminal possession of stolen property in the first degree when he knowingly possesses stolen property, with intent to benefit himself or a person other than an owner thereof or to impede the recovery by an owner, and when the value of the value of the stolen property exceeds $1,000,000. 

The pending case against New York art dealer Nancy Wiener the New York Penal Law 165.54  would be classified as a “B” non violent felony.  As a potential first time offender Wiener faces a minimum of one to three years in prison and a maximum of eight and one third to twenty five years. Probation and community service are not options.

Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in Second Degree – NY Penal Law 165.52

A person is found guilty of criminal possession of stolen property in the first degree when he knowingly possesses stolen property, with intent to benefit himself or a person other than an owner thereof or to impede the recovery by an owner, and when the value of the value of the stolen property exceeds $50,000.

The pending case against New York art dealer Nancy Wiener the New York Penal Law 165.52 would be classified as a “C” non violent felony. As a potential first time offender Wiener faces no minimum sentence but faces as much as five to fifteen years in prison. Alternate sentences include probation, probation coupled with jail, community service, fines and a conditional discharge.

There are four legal presumptions associated with New York Penal Law 165.55, the following are the two relevant ones in this case:
  1. A person who knowingly possesses stolen property is presumed to possess it with intent to benefit himself or a person other than an owner thereof or to impede the recovery by an owner thereof. This presumption is often referred to as recent exclusive possession.” There has been a tremendous body of case law addressing this presumption which argues for the position that if an accused has had the exclusive possession of stolen property after a theft crime has been perpetrated and there is evidence or circumstances which show an inability to explain where the property came from, a negative inference may in fact be drawn. That inference being that there is a strong likelihood that the accused knew that the property he or she possessed was stolen.
  2. A collateral loan broker or a person in the business of buying, selling or otherwise dealing in property who possesses stolen property is presumed to know that such property was stolen if he obtained it without having ascertained by reasonable inquiry that the person from whom he obtained it had a legal right to possess it.
Conspiracy in the fourth degree – NY Penal Law 105.10(1)

A person is guilty of conspiracy in the fourth degree when, with intent that conduct constituting:
  1. a class B or class C felony be performed, he or she agrees with one or more persons to engage in or cause the performance of such conduct; 

The pending case against New York art dealer Nancy Wiener the New York Penal Law 105.10(1) would be classified as a “E” non violent felony.  Punishment ranges for this offence range from no jail with probation to up to four years in state prison.

Conspiracy is relatively easy for prosecutors to prove because New York law does not require exact proof of language used in an agreement to commit a crime, and only requires the testimony of one party.  As seen in the complaint we published yesterday, there appears to be sufficient testimony to make this conspiracy charge stick.

Difference between a Criminal Complaint and a Criminal Indictment

A criminal complaint lists the charges that the prosecuting attorney will file against a person. It typically describes the nature of the offence and consists simply of a signed affidavit by the accuser.

A criminal indictment would be a written document, usually presented before a grand jury who decides if the charges warrant further action.  Criminal complaints require sworn testimony given under oath for the courts to move forward with the case.

UPDATE: Checking records at the New York State Unified Court System for this case, it now appears that this defendant has been indicted on Conspiracy in the fourth degree.    The defendant has entered a "Not Guilty" plea and has been released on her own recognisance.  Her next court appearance has been scheduled for February 28, 2017.

Who are the players mentioned in the antiquities looting network outlined in the criminal complaint?

From the content of the criminal complaint issued by New York prosecutors we get a preliminary outline of the pertinent facts alleged in the case that will then be presented in court should Ms. Wiener's case move on to trial.   The portrait painted by prosecutors illustrates what looks to be a complex network of looters, middlemen, and antiquities dealers that suggests the mentioned players have benefited financially from the trade in illicit antiquities for a number of years.

Here is a distilled summary of the key persons mentioned within the criminal complaint

Informant #1 - According to the criminal complaint this cooperating individual is a dealer in illegal antiquities known to the District Attorney. In the complaint Informant #1

  • allegedly implicated Co-Conspirator #1 in the purchase and sale of the Baphuon Shiva from Cambodia.
  • allegedly reported that Nancy Wiener had removed all records of where, when, from whom, and for how much each antiquity was acquired
  • allegedly reported that Nancy Wiener later told informant #1 that the records no longer existed. 
  • allegedly provided information on the Sharod Singh connection with the looted red sandstone relief (“Red Sandstone Couple”), from India, dated to the 1st–2nd Century C.E., 
  • allegedly provided information on the Vaman Ghiya connection with the a stolen mottled red sandstone relief depicting a Bacchanalian scene, dated to the 2nd Century C.E., 
  • allegedly implicated Co-Conspirator #5 in the sale to Doris Wiener of a silver-inlaid gilt bronze figure of Avalokiteshvara from Northeastern India or Western Tibet (China), dated to 10th-11th C.E.,
  • allegedly reported seeing objects procured by Co-Conspirator #6 the purchased by Nancy Wiener in New York unrestored, unmounted and/or without bases - classic signs of looting. 

Informant #2 - According to the criminal complaint this cooperating individual is another dealer in looted antiquities known to the District Attorney.  In the complaint Informant #2

  • allegedly provided information on the Naga Buddha
  • allegedly implicated Nancy Wiener in the purchase of Seated Buddha #1 from trafficker Vaman Ghiya
  • allegedly implicated Nancy Wiener in the purchase of Seated Buddha #2 from trafficker Vaman Ghiya
  • allegedly implicated Subpash Kapoor in the purchase and smuggling of the stolen Krishna Dancing on Kaliya (cobra) from Tamil Nadu, India, dating from the Chola Period (11th-12th Century)
  • allegedly implicated Co-Conspirator #4 in the handling and restoration of the stolen Krishna Dancing on Kaliya (cobra) from Tamil Nadu, India, dating from the Chola Period (11th-12th Century)
  • allegedly implicated Co-Conspirator #1 in the purchase of the stolen Krishna Dancing on Kaliya (cobra) from Tamil Nadu, India, dating from the Chola Period (11th-12th Century)
  • allegedly implicated Co-Conspirator #5 as being an antiquities smuggler of Tibetan descent based in Nepal and Hong Kong who was in frequent email contact with Defendant about illicit pieces from Nepal. 
  • allegedly implicated Co-Conspirator #6 and his father as being suppliers of illicit cultural property from primarily Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • allegedly provided information on false provenance provided for Christie's sale created for pieces that passed between Nancy Wiener and Co-Conspirator #6 

Informant #3 - According to the criminal complaint this cooperating individual is another dealer in looted antiquities known to the District Attorney.  In the complaint Informant #3
  • allegedly provided information on false provenance provided by Nancy Wiener for the Red Sandstone Couple
Co-conspirator #1 - According to the criminal complaint co-conspirator #1
  • allegedly is an antiquities dealer based in London and Bangkok
  • allegedly entered into an agreement with Nancy Wiener to purchase and sell a looted Baphuon Shiva from Cambodia, dated to the 11th Century C.E
  • allegedly shipped the Baphuon Shiva to London to be “cleaned, put together, and mounted.”
  • allegedly sold Nancy Wiener a bronze Buddha sitting on a throne of Naga stolen from Thailand or Cambodia, dated to the 10th Century C.E.
  • allegedly falsified provenance along with Nancy Wiener and Co-conspirator 2 for the bronze Buddha sitting on a throne of Naga stolen from Thailand or Cambodia, dated to the 10th Century C.E.
  • allegedly is a male 
  • allegedly admitted in email that he gave Co-Conspirator #2 bronze statues in exchange for false letters of provenance
  • allegedly purchased the Krishna Dancing on Kaliya from Subhash Kapoor
  • allegedly colluded with Nancy Wiener to create appraisal report for the Krishna Dancing on Kaliya 
Co-conspirator #2 - According to the criminal complaint co-conspirator #2
  • allegedly is a female research consultant for an American museum 
  • allegedly falsified provenance along with Nancy Wiener and Co-conspirator 1 for the bronze Buddha sitting on a throne of Naga stolen from Thailand or Cambodia, dated to the 10th Century C.E.
  • allegedly implicated by Co-conspirator #1 who stated he gave Co-Conspirator #2 bronze statues in exchange for false letters of provenance.
Co-conspirator #3 - According to the criminal complaint co-conspirator #3
  • allegedly is a New York-based restorer, 
  • allegedly restored the bronze Buddha sitting on a throne of Naga stolen from Thailand or Cambodia, dated to the 10th Century C.E. despite it having been struck by an agricultural tool, resulting in a jagged break - a sign of looting. 
  • allegedly restored the stolen marble Apsara ceiling panel.
Co-conspirator #4, - According to the criminal complaint co-conspirator #4
  • allegedly is a U.K.-based restorer used by Subhash Kapoor and Co-conspirator #1
  • allegedly restored the Krishna Dancing on Kaliya (cobra) stolen from Tamil Nadu, India, dating from the Chola Period (11th-12th Century).
Co-conspirator #5 - According to the criminal complaint co-conspirator #5
  • allegedly is an antiquities smuggler of Tibetan descent based in Nepal and Hong Kong. 
  • allegedly sold Doris Wiener a silver-inlaid gilt bronze figure of Avalokiteshvara.
  • allegedly incriminated Doris Wiener for providing false provenance on the silver-inlaid gilt bronze figure of Avalokiteshvara.
Co-conspirator #6 - According to the criminal complaint co-conspirator #6
  • allegedly is a male
  • and his father are allegedly suppliers of illicit cultural property from primarily Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • allegedly grew up in Pakistan and England. 
  • allegedly was implicated in several recorded conversations for shipping large quantities of newly dug-up, stolen antiquities from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Thailand, often via Hong Kong, and then to dealers from around the world.  
  • allegedly was implicated in selling Doris Wiener 14 stolen antiquities
Other individuals who are mentioned in the complaint

Vaman Ghiya - According to the criminal complaint, seized documents and statements made by informant #2 implicate Weiner in the purchase of the Seated Buddha #1 from Vaman Ghiya, someone who was listed as a long-time supplier from India who often used "Shantoo" to sell his looted antiquities. According to seized documents and informant #1, Doris Wiener was allegedly implicated in buying a stolen mottled red sandstone relief depicting a Bacchanalian scene from Ghiya that Wiener then allegedly falsely claiming that her mother had acquired from a private collection in London.

Ghiya is a known antiquities smuggler who allegedly confessed to selling 10,000 objects of Indian art via Sotheby’s—subject of a BBC sting operation.  Convicted in 2008 and sentenced to life imprisonment, the conviction was quashed on appeal because of procedural irregularities during the police prosecution.


Ranjeet Kanwar - According to the criminal complaint and statements by a former employee of Kapoor, “Shantoo” is the alleged nickname of Ranjeet Kanwar, one of Subhash Kapoor's alleged main suppliers of stolen antiquities from India.  His name appears on a computer disk file folder that contained three pictures of looted Seated Buddha #1 found at the Sofia Bros. Storage, in New York County, a storage facility rented by Subhash Kapoor.

Om Sharma - According to the criminal complaint, seized emails and statements by informants #1 and #2, it is alleged that Om Sharma is a supplier of illicit antiquities from India.  Wiener allegedly bought the stolen red sandstone figure depicting a Jain goddess from Sharma in 2009. The complaint also states that in August 2010, “Victor” had allegedly emailed Doris and Nancy Wiener separately to offer one of the Apsara Marbles, attaching pictures of the dirty, unrestored sculpture on the ground with what appeared to be cut marks. According to statements from informants #1 and #2, “Victor” is the alleged email pseudonym for Om and Badal Sharma.

Sharod Singh - According to the criminal complaint, informants #1 and #2, it is alleged that Sharod Singh is a supplier of illicit antiquities from India. According to emails and records provided by informant #1, Doris Wiener allegedly purchased a looted red sandstone relief (“Red Sandstone Couple”) from this individual in 2002 and the allegedly smuggled it into the US via via Kurt Anderson, Inc., a corporation owned by her.

The authorities have stated that they executed more than 50 search warrants as part of this investigation.




December 25, 2016

A criminal complaint that reads like a recipe for of illicit antiquities laundering: THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FELONY vs. Nancy Wiener

This 12-page complaint filed in Manhattan Criminal Court, signed by Special Agent Brenton Easter of the Department of Homeland Security, lays out the charges against New York art dealer Nancy Wiener through her gallery Nancy Wiener Gallery.

The complaint is a textbook formula of how looted antiquities are laundered onto the licit art market through poor controls and a lack of ethics and transparency among the major players in the art market. 

The transcription below is the html version of the Court's PDF file version located here.

ARCA has elected to transcribe the document to make it searchable by future scholars conducting open source research on known traffickers. 



Page 1 of 12 

CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 
COUNTY OF NEW YORK 
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FELONY 
-against- 
Nancy Wiener (F34), Defendant. 

Felony

ADA Matthew Bogdanos 
(212) 335-9323

Special Agent Brenton Easter, Shield 3014 of the Department of HomelandSecurity Investigations, states as follows: 

The defendant is charged with: 
1 PL 165.54 Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First Degree (defendant #1: 1 count) 
2 PL 165.52 Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Second Degree (defendant #1: 1 count) 
3 PL 105.10(1) Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (defendant #1: 1 count) 

At the times and places described below in the County and State of New York, the defendant knowingly possessed stolen property with a value in excess of one million dollars with intent to benefit a person other than an owner of the property and to impede recovery by an owner thereof; the defendant knowingly possessed stolen property with a value in excess of 50,000 dollars with intent to benefit a person than an owner of the property and to impede recovery by an owner thereof; the defendant, with intent that conduct constituting a class B or C felony be performed, agreed with one or more persons to engage in and cause the performance of such conduct. 

The factual basis for these charges are as follows: 

Deponent, a Special Agent with DHS-HSI, states that since approximately 2007, he has been assigned to a squad responsible for investigating, among other things, money laundering, smuggling of contraband, art fraud, and the interstate sale and transportation of stolen cultural property. As a Special Agent, Deponent has led or joined teams of agents and officers in the execution of judicially-authorized search and arrest warrants seeking the arrest of individuals and recovery of property and evidence in connection with illegal importations and exportations, and with the interstate and foreign transportation and sale of stolen goods. 

Deponent states that, based on participation in this and other investigations, he is familiar

Page 2 of 12 

CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 
COUNTY OF NEW YORK 
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FELONY 
-against- 
Nancy Wiener (F34), Defendant. 

Felony

ADA Matthew Bogdanos 
(212) 335-9323

with the facts and circumstances of this investigation through the following: personal participation; discussions with agents in DHS-HSI and other foreign and domestic law enforcement agencies; interviews of witnesses, including cooperating witnesses that he has worked with on this and other cases; and records and reports relating to, or generated from, this investigation. No attempt has been made to set forth the complete details of this investigation that include tens of thousands of emails, documents, and photographs recovered pursuant to more than fifty judicially authorized search warrants. Statements andfacts listed have been summarized for the specific purposes of this complaint. 

CONSPIRACY. Between at least 1999 and 2016, with intent that conduct constituting the crimes of Grand Larceny in the First and Second Degrees and Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the First and Second Degrees be performed, the Defendant utilized her business, Nancy Wiener Gallery, 49 East 74th Street, New York County, to buy, smuggle, launder, and sell millions of dollars’ worth of antiquities stolen from Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, India, Pakistan, and Thailand. 

A. OBJECTIVES AND METHODS OF THE CONSPIRACY. Defendant and her co-conspirators have trafficked in illegal antiquities for decades. Transporting looted cultural property from the site of the theft to the ultimate buyer through intermediary countries in order to hide the true country of origin, 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. 

B. OVERT ACTS. 

1. BAPHUON SHIVA. According to documents provided by informant #1, a dealer in illegal antiquities known to the District Attorney, there was an agreement between Defendant and an antiquities dealer based in London and Bangkok (“Co-Conspirator #1.”) to purchase and sell a Baphuon Shiva from Cambodia, dated to the 11th Century C.E., 39.5 inches high, depicting Shiva standing, and valued at $578,500. Exhibit A. 

Baphuon Shiva, Cambodia
According to emails seized pursuant to search warrants, Defendant and Co-Conspirator #1 bought the Baphuon Shiva in September 2008 “direct from a supplier, and not through a

Page 3 of 12 

CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 
COUNTY OF NEW YORK 
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FELONY 
-against- 
Nancy Wiener (F34), Defendant. 

Felony

ADA Matthew Bogdanos 
(212) 335-9323

dealer” for $250,000. According to informants #1 and #2 (another dealer in looted antiquities known to the District Attorney), buying from a “supplier” is an indication of a looted antiquity. Co-Conspirator #1 then shipped the Baphuon Shiva to London to be “cleaned, put together, and mounted.” In my experience, and according to informants #1 and #2, looted antiquities need to be “cleaned” of tell-tale dirt and debris; “put together,” because stolen statues are often cut up into smaller pieces-called “orphans”-for ease of smuggling; and “mounted,” because stolen statues and reliefs are, often cut from their original pedestal or wall. 

According to seized documents, Defendant then consigned the Baphuon Shiva to Sotheby's New York, for its 2011 sale of “Indian and Southeast Asian Works of Art.” In May 2010, a Sotheby’s employee noted that the Baphuon Shiva had “cracks and joins dressed up with paint splatters to mask repairs.” In my experience, and according to informants #1 and #2, because shovels and picks are frequently used during the clandestine theft of antiquities, such damage is often a sign of looting. According to seized emails, Defendant told Sotheby's the statue had been purchased from antiquities dealer Spink & Son around 1968, but that she had no written proof. In my experience, and according to informants #1 and #2, misrepresenting the true provenance of an antiquity is essential for selling stolen items in the market, because false provenance prevents the items from being easily traced and enables ownership records to be falsified to predate the patrimony laws of the antiquity’s country of origin. Sotheby’s sold the Baphuon Shiva as lot 29 from its showroom at 1334 York Avenue, New York County on March 24, 2011, for $578,500

2. NAGA BUDDHA. In November 2011, Co-Conspirator #1 sold Defendant for $500,000 a stolen bronze Buddha from Thailand or Cambodia, dated to the 10th Century C.E., 17.75 inches high, depicting Buddha sitting on a throne of Naga (snake), with a market value of $1,500,000. Exhibit B. According to informant #2, the Naga Buddha came from the Khmer Empire-present-day Cambodia and parts of Thailand.

Buddha sitting on a Naga (snake) throne
According to seized emails, Defendant had earlier begun falsifying the Naga Buddha's provenance with Co-Conspirator #1 and Co-Conspirator #2 (who works as a research consultant for an American museum) by arranging for a photograph of the Naga Buddha to be published in a 2011 book. In my experience, and according to informants #1 and #2, publishing a photograph of a looted antiquity is a common laundering practice. In another

Page 4 of 12 

CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 
COUNTY OF NEW YORK 
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FELONY 
-against- 
Nancy Wiener (F34), Defendant. 

Felony

ADA Matthew Bogdanos 
(212) 335-9323

email, Co-Conspirator #2 wrote that she had “changed” the provenance “a bit,” asking Co-Conspirator #1 if the changes were “okay.” Co-Conspirator #1 then emailed Defendant, seeking her approval. In another email, Co-Conspirator #1 told Defendant that he typically gave Co-Conspirator #2 bronze statues in exchange for false letters of provenance. 

In January 2016, Defendant shipped the Naga Buddha to a New York-based restorer (“Co-Conspirator #3”) for restoration, stating its value to be $850,000. In February 2016, Co-Conspirator #3 emailed Defendant a bill for the restoration, noting that the Naga Buddha appeared to have been struck by an agricultural tool, resulting in a jagged break - a sign of looting. Defendant displayed the Naga Buddha for sale for $1,500,000 in the Nancy Wiener Gallery until Deponent seized it pursuant to a warrant in March 2016. 

3. TWO SEATED BUDDHAS. In 1999, Defendant possessed, through her gallery, a stolen sandstone seated Buddha, from India, dated to the 1st-3rd Century C.E., 33 inches high and valued at $500,000 (“Seated Buddha #1"). Exhibit C. In 2000, Defendant sold the statue to Singapore’s Asian Civilisations Museum (“Singapore”) without any statement of provenance. Years later, when Singapore requested provenance, Defendant first claimed that Seated Buddha #1 had belonged to an unnamed European collection for at least 35 to 40 years, but then stated that the owner's father had acquired the piece in India. According to seized emails, Defendant then provided a third version: that the piece had belonged to Ian Donaldson, who purchased it when posted to Vietnam between 1964 and 1966. 

Pursuant to a search warrant executed at Sofia Bros. Storage, in New York County, a storage facility rented by separately charged defendant Subhash Kapoor (“Kapoor”) for his business, Art of the Past, Deponent discovered an unlabeled computer disc containing a folder titled “Shantoo.” According to a former employee of Kapoor, “Shantoo” is the nickname of Ranjeet Kanwar, one of Kapoor's main suppliers of stolen antiquities from India. The disc contained three pictures of Seated Buddha #1; in one, dated “92 11 8,” the statue appearsstill wet as it lay on a dirty floor in front of a makeshift black backdrop. Exhibit D. According to informant #2 and seized documents, Defendant purchased Seated Buddha #1 from Vaman Ghiya, a long-time supplier from India who often used Shantoo to sell his looted antiquities. 

According to informant #2 and seized documents, Defendant also acquired a second stolen

Page 5 of 12 

CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 
COUNTY OF NEW YORK 
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FELONY 
-against- 
Nancy Wiener (F34), Defendant. 

Felony

ADA Matthew Bogdanos 
(212) 335-9323

seated Buddha (“Seated Buddha #2”) from Ghiya, possessing it through her gallery until she sold it to the National Gallery of Australia (“Australia”), in Canberra, Australia, in 2007 for $1,080,000. Exhibit E. In May 2006, Defendant told an employee of the NGA that she had purchased Seated Buddha #2 in 2000, “but knew of it several years prior to that,” and that “[i]t was originally purchased in Hong Kong by an Englishman posted there between1964-66.” When asked for proof, Defendant again used the name Ian Donaldson. Thus, for Australia, she claimed Ian Donaldson had been posted to Hong Kong between 1964-66, despite the fact that she told Singapore Ian Donaldson “was posted to Vietnam.” between 1964–66. 

4. KRISHNA. Pursuant to a search warrant executed at Kapoor's gallery at 1242 Madison Ave, in New York County, Deponent discovered a computer with an e-file entitled “travel.” A subfolder entitled “05 10 India” contained pictures of cultural property Kapoor purchased in India in October 2005 and later smuggled to New York. Some of these pictures depict Krishna Dancing on Kaliya (cobra) from Tamil Nadu, India, dating from the Chola Period (11th-12th Century). Exhibits F-G. In the pictures, the statue was still encrusted with dirt - in my experience, and according to informants #1 and #2, this indicates recent looting. 

According to informant #2, Kapoor purchased the Krishna in India and smuggled it to NewYork hidden in a shipment of legal handicrafts - in my experience, this is a common practice to evade U.S. Customs. According to a document recovered from Kapoor's computer, Kapoor sent the statue in June 2006 to a U.K. -based restorer (“Co-Conspirator #4”) for restoration to hide the signs of looting. According to informant #2 and seized emails, Co-Conspirator #1 - who frequently used Co-Conspirator #4 to clean and restore stolen cultural property - saw the Krishna during restoration and bought it. Another document on Kapoor's computer records the sale to Co-Conspirator #1 for “650,000.00” on “30-Aug.” 

According to seized emails, in June 2011, Co-Conspirator #1 emailed Defendant pre- and post-restoration pictures of the stolen Krishna, and requested that Defendant prepare an appraisal to assist in the future sale of the statue. According to a document on her computer, “Asian treasures Final v4,” Defendant provided an appraisal for $3,500,000. 

4. DORIS WIENER COLLECTION. According to documents on Defendant’s computer, upon Doris Wiener's death in April 2011, antiquities that had been owned by Doris Wiener

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CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 
COUNTY OF NEW YORK 
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FELONY 
-against- 
Nancy Wiener (F34), Defendant. 

Felony

ADA Matthew Bogdanos 
(212) 335-9323

Gallery in New York County were transferred to the estate of Doris Wiener, of which Defendant was co-executor. According to informant #1, Defendant removed all records ofwhere, when, from whom, and for how much each piece was acquired (filling multiple file cabinets) and later told informant #1 that the records no longer existed. 

According to seized emails, Defendant contacted Sotheby's New York to sell the collection, but could not provide documentation that the antiquities had been removed from their countries of origin prior to each country’s patrimony laws. According to Tess Davis, an expert in the laws of patrimony, those years are 1980 for Afghanistan, 1900 for Cambodia, 1982 for China, 1972 for India, 1956 for Nepal, 1975 for Pakistan, and 1961 for Thailand. 

According to seized emails, Defendant instead consigned the collection to Christie's New York, because their policy requires only that an antiquity have been out of its country of origin prior to 2000 (or 1999 for Cambodia), regardless of that country’s patrimony law. In November 2011, Christie's requested provenance information for the “top 20 lots” of the sale, and Defendant provided a document, “Provenance and Country of Origin Details,” that contained false provenance. According to that document, of the 380 lots in the collection, ten came from Spink & Son (an antiquities dealer Defendant had falsely listed as provenance for other stolen antiquities); and four were originally owned by Doris Wiener (who had consigned them for auction to Sotheby’s or Christie's and then reacquired them - in my experience, and according to informants #1 and #2, this type of straw purchase is a common laundering tactic to create a false ownership history). Of the remaining 366 lots, eight were listed with an ownership history prior to Doris Wiener. Six of those eight listed Sotheby’s or Christie's, one listed a “member of the Diplomatic Corps,” and one listed an actual name. For the 380 lots, then, Defendant provided the name of an owner prior to Doris Wiener (other than Spink & Son) for one lot. Christie's offered all 380 lots for sale from its showroom at 20 Rockefeller Plaza, New York County, on March 20, 2012, resulting in a total sale of $12,796,437. 

This portion of the conspiracy utilized the following trafficking networks: 

a. OM SHARMA NETWORK. According to seized emails and informants #1 and #2, Om Sharma is a supplier of illicit antiquities from India. Beginning in 2008, Doris Wiener had a series of email exchanges with Sharma about buying a stolen red sandstone figure, from

Page 7 of 12 

CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 
COUNTY OF NEW YORK 
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FELONY 
-against- 
Nancy Wiener (F34), Defendant. 

Felony

ADA Matthew Bogdanos 
(212) 335-9323

India, dated to the 12th Century C.E., 26 inches high, depicting a Jain goddess, and valued at $74,500. According to these emails, Doris Wiener had seen the Jain Goddess still wet and pre-restoration-signs of looting. Exhibits H-J. She bought the statue in 2009, wiring the money to Hong Kong, and smuggled the piece to her New York gallery. 

This Jain Goddess was one of the pieces consigned by Defendant to Christie's (lot 48) for its sale of March 20, 2012. According to seized emails, Defendant falsely claimed to Christie's that the Jain Goddess had been in a private collection in London dating back to the 1980s, before her mother acquired it in New York in 2009. It sold for $74,500. 

b. SHAROD SINGH NETWORK. According to informants #1 and #2, Sharod Singh is a supplier of illicit antiquities from India. According to emails and records provided by informant #1, Doris Wiener in 2002 bought a looted red sandstone relief (“Red Sandstone Couple”), from India, dated to the 1st–2nd Century C.E., and valued at $150,000. Exhibit K. Doris Wiener then smuggled the relief into the United States via Kurt Anderson, Inc., a corporation owned by her to facilitate the importation of looted antiquities. Her 2007 Kurt Anderson account ledger lists a red sandstone couple as line #49, “Sharod Singh Seated Stones (3) Partnership with Nancy, S1044-S1047, $150,000.00.” 

This Red Sandstone Couple was one of the pieces Defendant consigned to Christie's (lot 22) for its sale of March 20, 2012. According to seized emails, Defendant first told Christie's that her mother had acquired the relief “in London in the late 1990’s.” During a recorded conversation after the sale, Defendant admitted using a surrogate to purchase the statue for herself at auction—a tactic often used to launder the statue and later sell it at a higher price as a previously “published” piece. According to recovered documents, and to complete the laundering process, Defendant then changed the provenance to “the 1970s,” and received a certificate from the Art Loss Register. In March of 2016, informant #3, another dealer in illegal antiquities, saw the Red Sandstone Couple at the Nancy Wiener Gallery. Defendant offered the relief for sale, using a third provenance: that it had been in her mother's collection since 1992. As proof of its legitimacy, Defendant noted its publication in a catalogue as part of her mother's estate sale at Christie's in 2012. 

According to seized documents, Defendant also consigned to Christie's four other pieces from her mother's collection that had come from the Singh Network (lots 23, 24, 47, and

Page 8 of 12 

CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 
COUNTY OF NEW YORK 
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FELONY 
-against- 
Nancy Wiener (F34), Defendant. 

Felony

ADA Matthew Bogdanos 
(212) 335-9323

67). In total, three of these five pieces sold at Christie's on March 20, 2012, for $70,000.00. 

c. VAMAN GHIYA NETWORK. In August 1992, Defendant sent a fax document to the supplier Vaman Ghiya (listed above), requesting that he “[p]lease call Nancy Wiener at the Hotel Storchen in Zurich immediately.” That same year, according to seized documents and informant #1, Doris Wiener bought a stolen mottled red sandstone relief depicting a Bacchanalian scene, dated to the 2nd Century C.E., 25 1/2 inches high, and valued at $180,000, from Ghiya in India. Exhibit L. This relief was consigned by Defendant to Christie's (lot 20) for its sale of March 20, 2012. According to seized documents, Defendant falsely claimed that her mother had acquired it from a private collection in London. 

According to seized emails and documents, Defendant consigned to Christie's five other pieces from her mother's collection that had come from the Ghiya Network (lots 20, 21, 27, 45, 49, 55). For two of the consigned statues (lot 49 - Exhibit M and lot 55 - Exhibit O), there were pictures in the Shantoo (Ranjeet Kanwar) file on Kapoor's computer showing the pieces still in situ. Exhibits N and P.  Five of these six pieces sold at Christie's on March 20, 2012, for $478,750.

d. THE HIMALAYAN NETWORK. According to seized documents and informant #2, Co-Conspirator #5 is an antiquities smuggler of Tibetan descent based in Nepal and Hong Kong who was in frequent email contact with Defendant about illicit pieces from Nepal. According to informant #1, in 2002, Co-Conspirator #5 sold Doris Wiener a silver-inlaid gilt bronze figure of Avalokiteshvara from Northeastern India or Western Tibet (China), dated to 10th-11th C.E., and valued at $812,500. Exhibit Q. This Avalokiteshvara was one of the pieces consigned by Defendant to Christie's (lot 87) for its sale of March 20, 2012. According to seized emails, Defendant falsely claimed to Christie's that her mother had acquired the relief from a “private collection, Europe, early 1990’s.” During a recorded conversation in March 2016, Co-Conspirator #5 was asked if the provenance in the Christie's catalogue provided by Defendant for the “Silver-inlaid Gilt Bronze Figure of Avalokiteshvara,” was accurate. Co-Conspirator #5 laughed and said defendant knew that he had acquired the statue from Tibet and sold it to Doris Wiener. This statue sold at Christie's on March 20, 2012, for $812,500. 



e. THE GANDHARAN NETWORK. According to informant #2, Co-Conspirator #6 and

Page 9 of 12 

CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 
COUNTY OF NEW YORK 
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FELONY 
-against- 
Nancy Wiener (F34), Defendant. 

Felony

ADA Matthew Bogdanos 
(212) 335-9323

his father are suppliers of illicit cultural property from primarily Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to several recorded conversations, Co-Conspirator #6 has been shipping large quantities of newly dug-up, stolen antiquities from Afghanistan and Pakistan to Thailand, often via Hong Kong, and then to dealers from around the world for more than a decade. 

According to seized sales invoices, Doris Wiener purchased 14 stolen antiquities in January 2011 from Co-Conspirator #6, including a gray schist relief Buddha receiving a golden bowl, a gray schist relief Buddha receiving the sheaf of grass, a gray schist relief Buddha and the devotees, all dated to 2nd-3rd Century, all between 17–20 inches high, all from Afghanistanor Pakistan, and valued at a total of $32,000. Exhibits R-T. According to informant #1, who saw the artifacts upon their arrival in New York from Asia, they were unrestored, unmounted and/or without bases - classic signs of looting. These reliefs were consigned by Defendant to Christie's (lots 1, 2, 3) for its sale of March 20, 2012.


According to seized documents, Defendant consigned to Christie's six other pieces that had come from Co-Conspirator #6 or his father (lots 5, 7, 14, 16, 18, and 38) for the sale. For six of the nine pieces, Defendant falsely claimed that her mother had acquired the pieces from a “Private Collector, Thailand, mid-1980s or earlier” (lots 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 18). According to informant #2, that provenance was false because the “private collector” was Co-Conspirator #6, who in the mid-1980s was a child living in Pakistan and England. According to seized documents, for two of the three remaining pieces, Christie's altered the provenance, changing Defendant’s “by late 1990s” to “by late 1980s” for lot 14 and changing “2011” to“by 1996” for lot 7. On March 20, 2012, eight of these nine pieces sold at Christie's for $196,500. 

CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF STOLEN PROPERTY IN THE FIRST DEGREE: NAGA BUDDHA. As noted above, in November 2011, Co-Conspirator #1 sold to Defendant for $500,000 a stolen bronze Buddha depicting Buddha sitting on a throne of Naga (snake), from Thailand or Cambodia, dated to the 10th Century C.E., 17.75 incheshigh. Exhibit B. Defendant displayed the Naga Buddha for sale for its market value of $1,500,000 in her gallery, until it was seized pursuant to a warrant in March 2016. 

CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF STOLEN PROPERTY IN THE SECOND DEGREE: THE APSARA MARBLES. From on or about September 2010 to on or about at least

Page 10 of 12 

CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 
COUNTY OF NEW YORK 
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FELONY 
-against- 
Nancy Wiener (F34), Defendant. 

Felony

ADA Matthew Bogdanos 
(212) 335-9323

March 2016, Defendant possessed a stolen marble Apsara ceiling panel depicting a female figure (“Apsara Marble”), from India, dated to the 10th Century A.D., 44 inches tall, and valued at $500,000. According to theft reports prepared by the Archaeological Survey of India (“ASI”) and filed with Interpol, a total of six celestial marble statutes were stolen from the ceiling of the Toos temple in India between November 2009 and September 2010. Exhibits U-V. According to seized emails, in September and October 2010, Defendant received several emails about the theft of the Apsara Marbles as well as pictures of the stolen statues. A month earlier, in August 2010, “Victor” had emailed Doris and Nancy Wiener separately to offer one of the Apsara Marbles, attaching pictures of the dirty, unrestored sculpture on the ground with what appeared to be cut marks. Exhibit W. According to informants #1 and #2, “Victor” is the email pseudonym for Om and Badal Sharma (see paragraph 5a above). According to a recorded conversation of a former employee of the Nancy Wiener Gallery, this Apsara Marble arrived at the Gallery around the same time as this string of emails, and then Defendant sent it to Co-Conspirator #3 for restoration. According to emails and documents seized from Defendant’s computer, she was still in possession of the Apsara Marble in March 2016. 

Tess Davis, a member of the New York State Bar and affiliate of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research at the University of Glasgow, has conducted extensive field research on the illicit trade in Asian antiquities since 2004. 

Afghanistan. Ms. Davis is familiar with the cultural property laws of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, including the 1980 Law on Protection of Historical and Cultural Properties as modified in 2004, and the 1958 Code for the Protection of Antiquities. According to Ms. Davis, this legal regime protects cultural heritage, vesting its ownership in the state. 

Cambodia. Ms. Davis is familiar with Cambodian law governing cultural patrimony,including, inter alia, Arrété du Gouverneur Général de l'Indochine sur la conservation desmonuments et objets ayant un intérêt historique ou artistique du 9 mars 1900; Arrété relativeau classement, à la conservation et à la protection des monuments historiques des pays deprotectorat du 11 juillet 1925; 1968 Law on the Organization of Suppressing the Acts of Stealing, Receipt of Stolen Goods, and Destruction of Patrimony Relating to the National Heritage; 1992 Land Law; 1996 Law on the Protection of Cultural Heritage; and 2001 Land Law. According to Ms. Davis, this legal regime protects cultural heritage, vesting its


Page 11 of 12 

CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 
COUNTY OF NEW YORK 
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FELONY 
-against- 
Nancy Wiener (F34), Defendant. 

Felony

ADA Matthew Bogdanos 
(212) 335-9323

ownership in the state. 

China. Ms. Davis is familiar with the cultural property laws of the People's Republic of China, which includes the Tibet Autonomous Region, including the Law on Protection of Cultural Relics (of 19 November 1982 as revised on 29 June 1991 and 28 October 2002). According to Ms. Davis, this and the country’s broader legal regime protects cultural heritage, vesting ownership of immoveable and moveable “cultural relics” in the state. 

India. Ms. Davis is familiar with the cultural patrimony laws of India, including theAntiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972, along with the Antiquities and Art Treasures Rules, 1973 (updated January 2012), and the Ancient and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958 (updated in 2010). According to Ms. Davis, this legal regime protects culturalheritage, vesting its ownership in the state. 

Nepal. Ms. Davis is familiar with the cultural property laws of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, including the Ancient Monuments Protection Act of 1956 as amended in1964, 1970, and 1994. According to Ms. Davis, this legal regime protects ancient monuments and archaeological objects, vesting its ownership in the state. 

Pakistan. Ms. Davis is familiar with the cultural property laws of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, including the 1975 Antiquities Act (as amended in 1992), and its predecessors the Antiquities Act of 1968 and Ancient Monuments Preservation Act of 1904. According to Ms. Davis, this legal regime protects archaeological sites and objects, vesting the ownership of undiscovered antiquities in the state. 

Thailand. Ms. Davis is familiar with the cultural property laws of the Kingdom of Thailand, including the 1961 Act on Ancient Monuments, Antiquities, Objects of Art, and National Museums (as amended in 1992). According to Ms. Davis, this legal regime protects archaeological sites and objects, vesting its ownership in the state.

Page 12 of 12 

CRIMINAL COURT OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK 
COUNTY OF NEW YORK 
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK FELONY 
-against- 
Nancy Wiener (F34), Defendant. 

Felony

ADA Matthew Bogdanos 
(212) 335-9323

False statements made in this written instrument are punishable as a class A misdemeanor pursuant to section 210.45 of the Penal Law, and as other crimes. 

Signed, Special Agent Brenton Easter 
Date December 21, 2016
Time: 11:40

April 2, 2015

Honolulu Museum of Art and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents Collaborate: A model for the Repatriation of Looted Art

By Lynda Albertson

In 2014 Homeland Security Special Agent Brenton Easter, part of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, contacted the Honolulu Museum of Art having determined that a 2000-year-old terra cotta rattle may have been looted and tied to the antiquities looting case against New York art dealer Subhash Kapoor.  

Kapoor has long been suspected of being
at the heart of an international antiquities smuggling operation which allegedly has sold illicit artifacts, either directly to or through donors, to major museums around the world.  The effect of this one trafficking network has had long-reaching impact to collections at some of the worlds greatest art museums including the Art Institute of Chicago, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art in Australia, the Norton Simon Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Toledo Museum of Art, and now the Honolulu Museum of Art.
Proactive in his approach Honolulu Museum of Art Director Stephan Jost and his staff worked to identify seven suspect works of art from within the Hawaiian museum’s collection.  Five objects were purchased directly from Subhash Kapoor, one was given to the museum by the dealer as a gift, and the seventh piece was sold by Kapoor to a private investor who subsequently donated it to the museum's collection. 
In a taped video interview on KITV which can be found here Director Stephan Jost is heard to say They don't belong here. They're stolen,"  "On one hand I hope they find a great home someplace. On the other hand, we've had them on view here almost 25 years. Lots of people loved them. The bottom line is they don't belong here."
This quote from a museum head stands in stark contrast to recent remarks made by James Cuno, president of the J. Paul Getty Trust, which operates the Getty Museum.  Cuno has made strong statements in both the New York Times and the quarterly magazine Foreign Affairs arguing that wholesale repatriation to source countries who cannot adequately protect their heritage is not in the best interest of the public as a whole.   In the FA article Cuno stated that "Cultural property should be recognized for what it is: the legacy of humankind and not of the modern nation-state, subject to the political agenda of its current ruling elite."

In the New York Times article Mr. Cuno was interviewed to have said “Calamity can happen anywhere, but it is unlikely to happen everywhere at the same time,” “I say ‘distribute the risk,’ not ‘concentrate it.’ ” when referring to recent issues in areas impacted by Da'ish and other profiteering looters in countries plagued by civil unrest and war.

Gary Vikan, former director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, told the New York Times journalists that given the extent of the conflicts in places like Syria, Iraq and northern Africa museums should take on a conservative stance on repatriation, stating  “I think this will put an end to the excess piety in favor of the repatriation model.”

While the ultimate repatriation of the objects photographed here, taken by AP photographer and journalist Jennifer Sinco Kelleherbeing packed up for their departure from the Honolulu Museum of Art, are not headed to countries currently embroiled in civil war, the contrast between each of these museum director's stance on their collections is something worth underscoreing.

Should museums ethically stand behind the return of looted antiquities in their collections on a county conflict case by case basis as Mr. Cuno and Mr. Vikan believe?  

In on Op/Ed piece this week Franklin Lamb, author of "Syria's Endangered Heritage, An international Responsibility to Protect and Preserve" has said he has not seen widespread support for the delay of repatriation in cases in Syria.  He has stated that  "Syrian officials and scholars interviewed [by] me overwhelming reject this point of view as does the Syrian public. Some have noted that using the destructive frenzy by Islamic State extremists to lobby against repatriation seeks to justify discredited practices and reeks of neo-colonialism."