Seller Detained in Paris on Suspicion of Promoting Looted Artifacts to Met, Louvre Abu Dhabi
German-Lebanese supplier Roben Dib, who’s suspected by US and French officers to been closely concerned within the sale of looted objects to the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork, New York, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi, was collared in Hamburg final week, The Artwork Newspaper reviews. By way of a European arrest warrant, Dib was summarily shipped off to France, the place he stays in custody, awaiting trial in a Paris court docket on prices of gang fraud and cash laundering.
Dib is alleged to be linked to French supplier and Mediterranean archaeology skilled Christophe Kunicki who, along with his husband, Richard Semper, was in 2020 detained in Paris and charged with working a widespread trafficking enterprise involving looted antiquities from Egypt and the Center East. Authorities started trying into Kunicki’s doings after he offered a golden sarcophagus to the Met for €3.5 million ($3.85 million). The Nationwide Legislation Evaluation reported on the time of Kunicki’s arrest that the Met, which had not correctly reviewed the thing’s possession historical past on receiving it, had later realized the merchandise’s provenance had been cast and that it had been nicked in the course of the Arab Spring rebellion of 2011. The Met issued an apology and returned the sarcophagus to Egypt. The felony investigation into Kunicki, undertaken by the Manhattan district legal professional’s workplace, revealed that he had obtained the thing from Dib and a pair of aged brothers residing in California, Simon and Serop Simonian. The DA’s workplace moreover seized a 2,600-year-old Egyptian stele sure for the artwork honest Tefaf New York, presupposed to have been offered illegally by Dib and the Simonian brothers to a French gallery. The merchandise was repatriated and the gallery, just like the Met, vowed to sue these concerned.
Dib is moreover suspected of getting offered 5 necessary Egyptian works—amongst them a Fayum portrait and one more golden sarcophagus—to the Louvre Abhu Dhabi for a complete of €50 million. The supplier has denied that he got here by the objects illegally, asserting that he obtained them from the late Simon Simonian, who labored as a supplier in Cairo from 1969 to 1984, and that each one the artefacts had been attended by had authentic export paperwork relationship to that point.