Cultural Heritage TraffickingNews

Fourteen stolen cultural artefacts return to Italy with Eurojust support     

The ancient artefacts, of considerable economic and cultural value, had been stolen from museums in Italy or illegally excavated and smuggled into Bavaria in Germany. The seizure and final handover of the cultural goods is the result of the cooperation between the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage (Italy), the Bavarian State Criminal Police Office (BLKA) in Munich (Germany), and the respective Ministries of Culture. Eurojust provided legal assistance to the authorities involved and facilitated the conclusion of the agreement.

The handover took place on 5 June at the headquarters of the Operational Department of the Carabinieri Command for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, ‘La Marmora’, in Rome, between the Commander Brigadier General, Vincenzo Molinese, and the Police Vice-President of the BLKA, Guido Limmer. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the German and Italian National Desks at Eurojust, as well as members of the German police and the German Federal Ministry of Culture.

The cultural assets recovered include an Attic black-figure kylix, from 540-530 BC; a Corinthian bronze helmet from the 4th century BC; several Roman bronze coins (68 BC – 3rd century BC); four gold coins of Valentinian II from the mint of Trier, era 367-385 AD; and an ivory box dated to the late Middle Ages.

The coins and the medieval box were all stolen from two different Italian museums located in Parma and Milan. Eurojust, through its Italian and German National Desks, provided advisory support to the national authorities involved to facilitate the seizure and return of these cultural assets. A coordination meeting was hosted by the Agency to find solutions to the legal problems related to the different national laws.