Former President of Louvre Museum Charged in Egyptian Artifact Trafficking Case

Authorities charged the former president of the Louvre museum in Paris with conspiring to hide the origin of Egyptian archaeological treasures that may have been taken out of the country during the Arab Spring uprisings.

French authorities charged Jean-Luc Martinez, who ran the Louvre museum from 2013 to 2021, on May 25 after being taken in for questioning in connection with a wide-ranging inquiry into the trafficking of ancient artifacts from the Middle East, a judicial source told AFP News.

A source confirmed to BBC News that Martinez faces a charge of “complicity” in fraud and “concealing the origin of criminally obtained works by false endorsement.”

Investigators alleged that Martinez facilitated the transfer of the objects to the Louvre in Abu Dhabi and turned a blind eye to fake certificates of origin for the pieces.

French authorities also took two French specialists in Egyptian art into questioning but did not charge them, according to AFP News.

Martinez stepped down from the role of president last year and served as the French ambassador for international cooperation on heritage, a role in which one of his tasks was to help fight against art trafficking.

The charge comes after authorities arrested the German-Lebanese gallery owner who brokered the sale in Hamburg in March and extradited him to Paris for questioning in the case.

French investigators suspect that hundreds of artifacts were pillaged during the Arab Spring protests in several Middle Eastern countries in the early 2010s.

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