A New York antiquities dealer has been sentenced to 10 years in prison by an Indian court
Indian-American antiques dealer Subhash Kapoor was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Tuesday. Court of Tamil Nadu State of India. Kapoor was described by the Manhattan office as “a prolific bootlegger who helped smuggle items from Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and other countries.”
According to the Press Trust of India, Kapoor and his five accomplices were convicted of stealing and illegally exporting 19 antique idols. Kapoor moved the items to his once-revered gallery in Manhattan, known as Art of the Past.
Kapoor was initially arrested by authorities on October 30, 2011 at Cologne Airport in Germany. Red corner notice from Interpol. Since his extradition to India in 2012, Kapoor has been in custody in the state of Tamil Nadu awaiting the outcome of his trial.
The news comes just weeks after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr. announced the return to India of 307 antiquities worth $4 million, 235 of which were seized in connection with Kapoor.
“These antiquities have been stolen by many complex and sophisticated trafficking rings whose leaders do not respect the cultural or historical significance of these sites,” Bragg explained. “The search for these antiquities would not have been possible without the cooperation of our law enforcement partners. [Homeland Security Investigations] and the outstanding work of our world-class investigators.
Part of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has been investigating Kapoor and his network for more than a decade. HSI New York Acting Special Agent Michael Alfonso joined Bragg in praising the results of the investigation.
“This repatriation is the result of a fifteen-year long investigation of the earth, where the investigation team chased the leads, followed the money and eventually seized the pieces, ensuring their return to the people of India,” Alfonso said. “HSI will continue to investigate artifacts that have little or no provenance, or are of questionable provenance, and will work with our domestic and international partners to return these priceless pieces of history to their rightful homes.”
The artifacts listed so far constitute only a small portion of the total antiquities of Kapoor and his network of traffickers. Between 2011 and 2022, the Manhattan DA’s Office and HSI recovered more than 2,500 pieces valued at more than $143 million.
in July 2020 Manhattan DA’s Office filed extradition papers for Kapoor. When asked to comment on the latest development, the spokesperson confirmed that he intends to continue his prosecution of Kapoor.
“We are in contact with the DOJ and the Indian authorities on this matter. In 2020, the Office filed extradition papers for Kapoor, and we intend to prosecute in the United States pursuant to our ongoing investigation,” Fox News Digital said in an emailed statement.
Several art museums across the country have cooperated with state and federal authorities to surrender items from their collections related to Kapoor. The New York Times reported that 13 looted artifacts were seized from the Yale University Art Gallery in early 2022. last month, The Denver Art Museum announced that in July 2022 he voluntarily repatriated 22 Kapoor-related items from his collection.
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