Jean-Luc Martinez is accused of blindly looking at “criminally obtained” Egyptian artwork
Jean-Luc Martinez, a former director of the Louvre Museum in Paris, has been charged with money laundering and involvement.Organized gang fraudWhich involved the smuggling of archeological material from Egypt during the unrest in the early 2010’s.
Investigators believe Martinez was blindsided by the Fake Certificate of Origin for five.Criminally obtainedThe piece, which ended at the Louvre’s Abu Dhabi branch, was quoted by AFP as saying. Several industry experts have been accused of being involved in suspected fraud.
Read more: The ‘biggest’ US museum is considering returning looted artefacts
According to The Art Newspaper, Martinez, who led the Louvre between 2013 and 2021, was arrested earlier this week by Vincent Rondot, head of the museum’s Egyptian department, and eminent Egyptian scientist Olivier Perdu.
Both Perdu and Rondot were later released without charge. Martinez, who is now the ambassador for international cooperation in the field of heritage, was placed under judicial supervision and charged Wednesday with an ongoing antiquities smuggling investigation.
Martinez has denied any wrongdoing, according to his lawyers.
“For now, he has reserved his statement for the court and there is no doubt that his good faith will be established,His lawyers Jacqueline Lafont and Franোয়াois Artufel told AFP.
The lawsuit was opened in 2018, two years after Abu Dhabi in the Louvre bought five ancient Egyptian artefacts, including a rare pink granite steel from Tutankhamun, for millions of euros. Since then, the investigation has led to the arrest and indictment of three people: two experts in Mediterranean archeology, Christoph Kunicki and Richard Semper, as well as Robin Deb, the owner of a gallery in Hamburg, who brokered the sale. Dibb was extradited to France for questioning.
Paris Louvre has not yet commented on the case, but Louvre Abu Dhabi says it is “An intergovernmental agreement between Abu Dhabi and France, signed in 2007, implements a strict international protocol for access to the collection of works of art.“
“This protocol is strictly in line with the 1970 UNESCO Convention [against the illicit trafficking of cultural artifacts] And follows the strictest standards of the world’s major museums,The museum quoted the BBC as saying in a statement.
French investigators reportedly believe that artifacts were removed illegally from several countries, including Libya, Yemen, Syria and Egypt, during the Arab Spring uprising. Hundreds of specimens were thought to have been sold in galleries and museums around the world, which obviously did not give much thought to the question of origin.
The Arab Spring protests, riots and armed uprisings that spread to many Arab countries in the early 2010’s have led to the overthrow of many longtime rulers, including then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Instability in several countries has turned into full-scale civil wars and even international conflicts, some of which are ongoing, as in the case of Yemen.