Jean-Luc Martinez allegedly turned a blind eye to “criminally obtained” Egyptian artifacts
The previous director of the Louvre Museum in Paris, Jean-Luc Martinez, has been charged with cash laundering and complicity in “organized gang fraud,” which apparently concerned the trafficking of archaeological objects taken out of Egypt through the unrest within the early 2010s.
Investigators imagine that Martinez turned a blind eye to pretend certificates of origin for 5 “criminally obtained” items which ended up within the Louvre’s Abu Dhabi department, AFP reported, citing sources. The suspected fraud allegedly concerned a number of artwork specialists.
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In response to The Artwork Newspaper, Martinez, who headed the Louvre between 2013 and 2021, was detained earlier this week, together with the top of the museum’s Egyptian division, Vincent Rondot, and famend Egyptologist Olivier Perdu.
Each Perdu and Rondot had been later launched with out fees. Martinez, who’s now an envoy for worldwide cooperation within the discipline of heritage, was positioned below judicial supervision and charged on Wednesday in relation to the continued antiquities trafficking investigation.
Martinez denies any wrongdoing, in line with his attorneys.
“For now, he reserves his statements for the courts and has little question that his good religion will probably be established,” his attorneys, Jacqueline Laffont and François Artuphel, informed AFP.
The case was opened in 2018, two years after the Louvre Abu Dhabi bought 5 historical Egyptian artifacts, together with a uncommon pink granite stele of Tutankhamun, for a number of million euros. Since then, the investigation has seen three individuals detained and charged: Two specialists in Mediterranean archeology, Christophe Kunicki and Richard Semper, in addition to an proprietor of a gallery in Hamburg, Roben Dib, who brokered the sale of the artifacts. Dib was extradited to France for questioning.
The Paris Louvre is but to touch upon the case, however Louvre Abu Dhabi mentioned that it “applies a strict worldwide protocol for artworks coming into the gathering, as outlined within the intergovernmental settlement between Abu Dhabi and France, signed in 2007.”
“This protocol is strictly aligned with the 1970 UNESCO Conference [against the illicit trafficking of cultural artifacts] and follows probably the most stringent requirements of main museums on the planet,” the museum mentioned in an announcement, as quoted by the BBC.
French investigators reportedly imagine that, through the Arab Spring uprisings, artifacts from a number of international locations, together with Libya, Yemen, Syria, in addition to Egypt, had been illegally eliminated. Tons of of artifacts had been thought to have been offered to galleries and museums all over the world, which apparently didn’t give a lot thought to questions of origins.
The Arab Spring protests, riots, and armed rebellions which unfold throughout many Arab international locations within the early 2010s resulted in a number of long-standing rulers being toppled, together with then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The unrest in a number of international locations become full-scale civil wars and even worldwide conflicts, a few of that are ongoing, as is the case in Yemen.