Manhattan D.A. Bragg Announces Return of 30 Antiquities To Greece

Tuesday, December 19, 2023
Manhattan D.A. Bragg Announces Return of 30 Antiquities To Greece

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., today announced the return of 30 antiquities to Greece collectively valued at $3.7 million. 19 of the pieces were voluntarily surrendered from New York gallery owner Michael Ward. Three of the pieces were seized from British art dealer Robin Symes.

The pieces were returned during a repatriation ceremony attended by Consul General Konstantinos Konstantinou, Secretary General of Culture Georgios Didaskalou, and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Thomas Acocella.

“This is an exquisite set of 30 antiquities that represents the extraordinary depth and beauty of Greece’s cultural heritage. These cases are a team effort and I am extremely grateful to each of the analysts and prosecutors in my Office who put in tireless work to bring these pieces home. We will continue to aggressively investigate those who are using Manhattan as a base to traffic stolen antiquities,” said District Attorney Bragg.

“Cultural heritage is an integral part of our identity as people and nations. It is therefore essential and nowadays crucial to protect and preserve cultural heritage for future generations. I express my gratitude for the ongoing and fruitful cooperation with the New York District Attorney’s Office, and for the return of the 30 antiquities to Greece,” said Minister of Culture, Dr. Lina Mendoni.

“I am truly grateful for the efforts undertaken by the Manhattan District Attorney Office and all those who have worked to make possible the return of these fabulous artifacts back to where they rightfully belong! Thanks to the superb efforts of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, 30 stunningly preserved artifacts are finally being repatriated. Their monetary value amounts to millions of dollars but their actual value goes far beyond that. They are priceless for the Greek people. I would like to take this opportunity to especially thank Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos for his tireless dedication. His contribution to this joyful outcome is invaluable and highly appreciated by our country. Investigating the trafficking of art and archeological artifacts is no easy task. Cracking down on smuggling cultural property across the globe requires thorough investigations and efficient cooperation between law enforcement authorities. The return of these artifacts to our country is a testimony to his steadfast commitment to combating illegal trade of antiquities,” said Consul General of Greece in New York, Ambassador Dinos Konstantinou.

“These 30 artifacts represent some of the most significant remnants from the past, playing a crucial role in shaping the vibrant Greek culture we see today. A nation’s cherished history should never be pilfered, peddled, or marketed for sale, yet for years these antiquities were kept in collectors’ homes, prestigious institutions, and even storage lockers,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Erin Keegan of Homeland Security Investigations, New York. “I would like to thank the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Government of Greece for their continued collaboration in ensuring their heritage is no longer put up for sale.”

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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