Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ex-Getty Curator Is Now on Trial in Greece

Source: New York Times

A former antiquities curator for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles went on trial yesterday in Athens on charges of conspiring to acquire an ancient gold funerary wreath that Greek officials say was illegally removed from Greek soil about 15 years ago.

The former curator, Marion True, did not attend the hearing. Her lawyer, Yannis Yannides, submitted a motion for dismissal, citing a California state law that sets a three-year statute of limitations for prosecution once a stolen artifact’s whereabouts have been made known. (The Getty acquired the wreath in 1993 and agreed to return it nearly a year ago, citing concerns about its provenance.) Greek investigators assert that the gold wreath was illegally excavated from an archaeological site in the northern province of Macedonia. Ms. True is also on trial in Italy on charges of trafficking in stolen antiquities acquired for the Getty. She has denied wrongdoing in both cases.

In a related development The Associated Press reported that a judge in Pesaro, Italy, yesterday dismissed a local prosecutor’s legal claim to a bronze statue of a youth that is in the Getty’s collection. (The statue has also been claimed by Italy’s national government.) After long negotiations, the museum agreed in August to return 40 other artifacts to Italy. Italy said it would consider whether to press its case on the bronze after the case in Pesaro was resolved.

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