Michael Steinhardt, a billionaire investigators say had a “rapacious appetite for plundered artifacts,” surrendered $70 million in antiquitiesAccording to authorities, he was prohibited from collecting any relics during his entire life.

Cyrus Vance Jr., Manhattan District Attorney said Steinhardt gave over 180 stolen items that had been looted from 11 countries. This was the conclusion of an ongoing investigation which began in 2017. Among the object are a stag’s head rhyton, a ceremonial vessel looted from Turkey and valued at $3.5 million; a larnax, a small chest for human remains from Crete that dates to 1400-1200 B.C.E.A gold bowl worth $200,000.

These three death masks, which were most likely made sometime between 6000 B.C.E. and 7000 B.C.E. Three death masks that were likely crafted between 6000 and 7000 B.C.E. in modern Israel were also given over. From Bulgaria to Egypt to Lebanon to Italy, at least 171 have been traced to international artists traffickers.

“For decades, Michael Steinhardt displayed a rapacious appetite for plundered artifacts without concern for the legality of his actions, the legitimacy of the pieces he bought and sold, or the grievous cultural damage he wrought across the globe,” Vance said in a statement. “His pursuit of ‘new’ additions to showcase and sell knew no geographic or moral boundaries, as reflected in the sprawling underworld of antiquities traffickers, crime bosses, money launderers, and tomb raiders he relied upon to expand his collection.”

Pictured (from left to right): The Larnax, a Death Mask, and Stag’s Head Rhyton.
Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

The objects will be promptly returned to their “rightful owners,” and Vance said Steinhardt surrendered the antiquities as part of a deal that will not seem him charged, as long as he abides by the terms of the agreement. Vance stated that this will protect witnesses who helped with the investigation and prevent them from being kept as evidence for many years.

Steinhardt, 81, is known as one of the world’s foremost collectors of ancient antiquities and has an art collection valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

In 2019, Steinhardt faced several accusationsHe was accused of sexual harassment against women who worked for the organizations he supported. Some of these accusations were denied by him and he apologized for the rest.

The New York Times takes note Steinhardt is a major contributorFunds like New York University, Jewish Philanthropic Groups and other organizations. His name graces the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Metropolitan Museum of Art galleries.

His attorney said Steinhardt was “pleased” the investigation was over, laying blame over what he called items’ “wrongfully taken by others.”

“Many of the dealers from whom Mr. Steinhardt bought these items made specific representations as to the dealers’ lawful title to the items, and to their alleged provenance,” the attorney, Andrew Levander, said in a statement to the Times. “To the extent these representations were false, Mr. Steinhardt has reserved his rights to seek recompense from the dealers involved.”

Source: HuffPost.com.

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