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N.Y. museum has looted antiquities

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NEW YORK, Oct 29, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Italian investigators say some antiquities in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and a major private collection were illegally excavated and exported.

The Met is the second museum to be named in the investigation, following the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Investigators believe they have identified six pieces of Greek pottery in the Met as items shown in Polaroid photographs seized from Giacomo Medici, an Italian dealer, during a raid on his Geneva warehouse in 1995. Another eight pieces of allegedly looted antiquities are in the collection of Shelby White, a member of the Met's board.

White and her late husband, Leon Levy, donated $20 million to the museum for a new Roman and Greek court that may eventually house their collection.

Investigators say some of the photographs showed items crusted with dirt, suggesting they were recently excavated after Italy barred the export of antiquities.

Medici was convicted last year of trafficking in illegal antiquities. A former Getty curator and an American dealer are scheduled to go on trial soon.


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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