More than a dozen objects related to the infamous antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor were seized on Wednesday at the Ivy League School Art Gallery by Homeland Security. 12 of the 13 objects were allegedly looted from India, and one item originated in Burma.
The objects were valued together at $ 1.29 million, according to officials. Authorities did not identify from which school the parts were taken.
The goods were seized as part of a decade-long investigation by Kapoor, a contemptuous Manhattan art dealer, who was accused by U.S. authorities of being “one of the world’s most prolific smugglers.”
In 2019, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint against Kapoor that described a multinational ring that traded thousands of stolen items worth more than $ 145 million over 30 years. Kapoor was jailed in India and put on trial in early 2021. An HSI spokesman told ARTnews that “it is expected that [Kapoor] He will be extradited to the United States upon his release from prison in India. “
Kapoor, 72, was known among New York merchants for his ability to purchase products of museum quality until his initial arrest on a 2011 trade charge in Germany. Subsequent investigations revealed the extent of his criminal acts. Some 2,600 objects – smuggled from Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Nepal and Thailand using false source documents – were confiscated from a number of Kapoor-owned storage locations in New York City. Thousands more are still missing.
“From where I sit, we’re very focused on getting those smuggling networks out of business,” James T. said. Hayes Jr., the agent overseeing much of Homeland Security’s investigation after Kapoor’s first arrest. “At the end of the day, our primary responsibility is to return the stolen property to its rightful owners.”
Kapoor’s buyers included a worldwide network of private collectors, galleries and museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio.
By 2021, Manhattan authorities have returned to India 248 dedicated $ 15 million icons. The group included two 12th- and 16th-century Hindu violent bronze statues, respectively. Both were suspected of being plucked from remote temples in the country lacking proper protection from the government.