5 Egyptian artifacts seized at US museum, linked to international ring

Ishita Srivastava
Ishita SrivastavaJun 03, 2022 | 17:18

5 Egyptian artifacts seized at US museum, linked to international ring

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office of New York has confiscated five Egyptian artifacts from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, US.  All ive of the artifacts are cumulatively valued at more than €3 million (over Rs 25 core).

Four of these artifacts have been linked to a German-Lebanese art dealer, Roben Dib, who along with Paris-based art dealer Christophe Kunicki, has been accused of falsifying documents in order to traffic hundreds of artifacts from the Middle East region.


In March 2022, Dib had surrendered to authorities in Paris, France, and has remained in detention. In 2020, Kunicki was arrested in Paris for criminal conspiracy, gang fraud and money laundering.

The five artifacts that have been confiscated are:

  1. Dating from Nero's reign, a Fayum portrait of a lady in a blue coat. The portrait is valued at €1.5m ( over Rs 12 crore).
  2. From either the 4th or 5th century, five fragments of a wall hanging illustrating the Book of Exodus painted on linen. The wall hanging is valued at €1.3m (over Rs 10 crore).
  3. Limestone stele in the model of a chapel dedicated to Kemes, from the 13th Dynasty. The stele is valued at €250,000 (over Rs 2 crore) and is considered to be from around 1770 BC.
  4. Stele from the 26th dynasty (around 650 BC) showing a singer in front of an offerings table with offerings to the god Hathor. The stele is valued at for €80,000 (over Rs 66 lakh).
  5. A sarcophagus mask valued at €6,000 (Rs 5 lakh).
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Instagram/Met

As per The Art Newspaper, the Manhattan DA’s office was able to seize the artifacts through a warrant issued by the US Supreme Court, dated May 19. The warrant read, “to demonstrate the crimes of criminal possession of stolen property“and “conspiracy to commit the same crimes“.

A spokesperson from the Met Museum has confirmed that “its employees were deceived by this criminal conspiracy and the museum has been fully cooperative throughout this investigation and will continue to be so.”

The confiscation of these 5 artifacts is the most recent development into an investigation being done into an international art trafficking ring.

Last updated: June 03, 2022 | 17:18
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