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US returns looted antiquities to India, Pakistan

New York

New York public prosecutor Alvin Bragg has returned to India and Pakistan hundreds of looted ancient statues and figurines, some as old as 5,500 years. that were brought into the US by a network allegedly masterminded by Subash Kapoor, a convicted antique smuggler.

Bragg’s office said that 235 antiquities from India, including many sacred images from temples, had been seized during investigations into the multinational predations of Kapoor across India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and other countries.

The smuggled items from Asia, particularly South Asia, were sold through Kapoor’s Art of the Past gallery in Manhattan, the office said.

In 2022, the office has returned 876 antiquities, valued at over $89 million to 15 countries. Since its founding, the Antiquities Trafficking Unit has returned nearly 2,300 antiquities, valued at over $200 million, to 22 countries.

“We began this journey with the DA’s Office and DHS in November 2020, 45 pieces of stolen Gandhara artifacts were returned and today we are very fortunate that another batch of 192 antiquities valued at $3.4 million are being returned. Some of them are on display here. Thank you so much for your work and your efforts,” said Consul General Ayesha Ali.

The investigations were conducted by Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos, Chief of the Antiquities Trafficking Unit; Assistant District Attorneys Bradley Barbour, James Edwards-Lebair, and Taylor Holland; Supervising Investigative Analyst Apsara Iyer, Investigative Analysts Giuditta Giardini, Alyssa Thiel, Daniel Healey, Hilary Chassé, and Allison Stacy; and Special Agents Robert Fromkin, John Paul Labbat, Robert Mancene, and Chris Rommeney of Homeland Security Investigations. The District Attorney’s Office would like to thank the National Gallery of Australia and Jay and Marilyn McKinley Parrish and family for their assistance and cooperation.

-Press Release

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