NY art dealer arrested for selling stolen Asian artefacts.(Plus Douglas Latchford Death and Updates)

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NY art dealer arrested for selling stolen Asian artefacts.(Plus Douglas Latchford Death and Updates)

Post by CEOCambodiaNews »

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One of the world's major dealers in South-East Asian art, Nancy Weiner of New York, was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly selling millions of dollars worth of stolen artefacts. It is believed that Weiner was buying artefacts from temple looters in Cambodia, Thailand and India and then selling them on to major auction houses under a false pedigree. This crack down on illicit trade in stolen South-East Asian treasures has shaken up the art world. Cambodia is now hoping to recover valuable Angkorian-era artefacts from Weiner's gallery.

The story cited below of one looted Cambodian artefact sold by Weiner gives an illustration of her modus operandi.
[This example was taken from the blog Chasing Aphrodite, which specialises in the hunt for looted antiquities.]
The Baphuon Shiva
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When Wiener consigned a Cambodian sculpture of 11th century Shiva at a 2011 auction at Sotheby’s, the auction house noted that cracks in the sculpture “had been dressed up with plaint splatters to mask repairs” – a clear sign of looting, according to the complaint.

Sotheby’s nevertheless accepted Wiener’s word that it had been out of Cambodia since 1968 and required no documentation from the dealer to support the claim. When selling Lot 29 at the March 24, 2011 sale, Sotheby’s described it as coming from a “Private English Collection, acquired 1960s.” “This exceptional figure exemplifies the highest achievements of the Baphuon School and is arguably amongst the best of its kind,” the catalog noted. It sold for $578,500.

In fact, there was no English collection, the complaint alleges. Seized emails show Wiener and a co-conspiritor (“an antiquities dealer based in London and Bangkok”) had acquired the sculpture “direct from a supplier, and not through a dealer” for half its market price. They sent it to London to be “cleaned, put together and mounted,” all evidence, the complaint alleges, that it had been recently looted.
I’ve asked Sotheby’s attorney (and former federal prosecutor) Jane Levine for a comment and will post it when I hear back.
https://chasingaphrodite.com/2016/12/21 ... on-houses/

The Nancy Weiner Gallery was first raided in March 2016 as a part of an investigation into major dealers and auction houses suspected of dealing in stolen Asian art : https://chasingaphrodite.com/2016/03/17 ... asian-art/

As reported in Cambodia:
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/d ... -artefacts
https://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/angk ... rk-122362/
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Re: NY art dealer arrested for selling stolen Asian artefacts.

Post by 2000rielpineapples »

these westerm women ate hiding behind the facade of white privelidge.

of course they are scamming especially NGOs and so forth.
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Re: NY art dealer arrested for selling stolen Asian artefacts.

Post by rozzieoz »

Amazing story


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Re: NY art dealer arrested for selling stolen Asian artefacts.

Post by bolueeleh »

west pillaging the east whats new? move on move on
Money is not the problem, the problem is no money
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Re: NY art dealer arrested for selling stolen Asian artefacts.

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Prosecutors allege the two conspired for decades with a network of smugglers and middlemen to obtain looted and stolen antiquities from across Asia. Many of those objects passed through auction houses before being purchased by museums and private collectors. (See our earlier coverage here.)

Where are these objects today? Where did they come from? And how many of them have a documented ownership history that stands up to scrutiny?

To answer those questions, we want your help searching Asian art collections around the globe for objects tied to the Wieners. As we find them, we’ll post them here, examine their ownership histories and, with IPP’s help, try to identify where they may have come from.
How to help: https://chasingaphrodite.com/2017/01/05 ... is-wiener/
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Re: NY art dealer arrested for selling stolen Asian artefacts.

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A team from Cambodia's National Museum has also been trying to track down stolen Cambodian artefacts, with the aid of a book published last June, identifying objects stolen from Wat Po Veal and Battambang Provincial Museums, with photographs and descriptions. The search is on-going and worldwide.

With New Book, Quest to Recover Stolen Battambang Statues Begins
by Michelle Vachon | June 7, 2016

The Ministry of Culture released a book on Monday of about 68 Khmer sculptures that were stolen from museums in Battambang City during decades of war and conflict, and intends to use the publication in a global search to recover the artifacts.

The result of a painstaking investigation by a restoration team from the National Museum assisted by the French School of the Far East (EFEO), the book proves that, until the early 1970s, the sculptures were at the Battambang Provincial Museum or the Wat Po Veal Museum.

“We want, first of all, to alert the owners of these pieces that what they have is illegally owned: This belongs to the national inventory of Cambodia,” said Anne Lemaistre, country representative for Unesco, which supported the book project.

She said Unesco would send the book to Interpol, the International Council of Museums, all museums with Khmer artwork and cross-border art dealers.

In the book, “Missing Objects from the Wat Po Veal and Battambang Provincial Museums,” each page includes a photograph of one object and information about its size, style and era.
The sculptures date from the 6th century to the post-Angkorian period...

Research for the book is already bearing fruit, said Kong Vireak, the Culture Ministry’s director of museums. A missing 11th-century sculpture was identified at a Christie’s auction in Paris and the ministry is taking steps to retrieve it, he said.
https://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/with ... ns-113643/
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Re: NY art dealer arrested for selling stolen Asian artefacts.

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Two well-known and respected experts in South East Asian antiquities, Douglas Latchford and Emma Bunker, are subject to a criminal complaint filed by the Manhattan district attorney for helping Nancy Weiner to falsify the documented history of Cambodian relics, but they have yet to be charged. The investigation into stolen Cambodian relics sold on the international market is on-going.
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Article: Antiquities experts linked to case of looted Cambodian relics
http://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/a ... ian-relics
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Re: NY art dealer arrested for selling stolen Asian artefacts.

Post by CEOCambodiaNews »

Bumping this up in connection with the pieces of jewellery currently on show at the National Museum in Phnom Penh. They are believed to have been stolen from Angkor Wat and sold on the international antiquities market, before they were recognized and returned to Cambodia.
post215711.html#p215711
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Re: NY art dealer arrested for selling stolen Asian artefacts.

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One of the world’s most prolific art smugglers caught with $143 million in antiquities
By Associated Press
Published: July 11, 2019 5:25 p.m. ET
NEW YORK (AP) — An art dealer who authorities called one of the most prolific smugglers in the world and seven others were charged with trafficking more than $140 million in stolen antiquities, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Authorities described the case as one of the largest of its kind, saying the conspiracy began more than three decades ago and involved more than 2,600 recovered artifacts, including statues and ancient masterworks.

A criminal complaint filed in Manhattan state court said the smuggling was orchestrated by Subhash Kapoor, a New York art gallery owner who was arrested in Germany in 2011 and later extradited to India, where he faces similar charges.

An email seeking comment was sent to Kapoor’s defense attorney.

The prosecution involves artifacts stolen from Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Pakistan and other countries that were sold for profit to dealers and collectors around the world. Some of the items appeared in world-renowned museums without officials realizing they were ill-gotten gains.

“These are, in many instances, priceless works that represent the culture and history of the countries from which they were stolen,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. told The Associated Press in an interview. “They are of enormous value.”

In all, authorities said, the network trafficked more than $143 million worth of antiquities. The international investigation was called “Operation Hidden Idol.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has described Kapoor as “one of the most prolific art smugglers in the world.” He faces 86 counts in the criminal complaint, including grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property.

The lead prosecutor, Matthew Bogdanos, told the AP that none of the defendants is believed to be in the United States. He said the authorities asked Interpol to issue international warrants for their arrest.

Kapoor, 70, owned the Art of the Past gallery on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, which authorities raided in early 2012.

The criminal complaint says Kapoor went to extraordinary lengths to acquire the artifacts, many of them statues of Hindu deities, and then falsified their provenance with forged documents.

It says Kapoor traveled the world seeking out antiquities that had been looted from temples, homes and archaeological sites.

Some of the artifacts were recovered from Kapoor’s storage units in New York.

Prosecutors said Kapoor had the items cleansed and repaired to remove any damage from illegal excavation, and then illegally exported them to the United States from their countries of origin.

“Kapoor would also loan stolen antiquities to major museums and institutions,” the complaint says, “creating yet another false veneer of legitimacy by its mere presence in otherwise reputable museums and institutions.”

The other defendants in the case include suppliers and restorers accused of conspiring with Kapoor.
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/one-o ... atest_news
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Re: NY art dealer arrested for selling stolen Asian artefacts.

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US Slaps Trafficking Charges on ‘Dynamite Doug’
The British expat is wanted for his trafficking of stolen and looted Cambodian antiquities.
By Luke Hunt
December 04, 2019

Last week, the United States issued an arrest warrant for the flamboyant British expat Douglas Latchford, also known as “Pakpong Kriangsak,” for the looting, sale, and trafficking of Cambodian antiquities into American and European art houses and museums.

Latchford, a muscleman who liked to be seen with the bodybuilders he oversaw as president of the Thailand Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Association, had cultivated a near legendary status in Bangkok. He also took a serious dislike to anyone who challenged his motives. But it was his reputation as a collector of fine antiquities, particularly from Cambodia, that opened the lucrative doors of high society in galleries from Hong Kong to Singapore and London to New York – enabling the octogenarian to indulge in the hedonistic high life of Bangkok. His ability to retrieve those artifacts amid Cambodia’s 30-year-war partly explains his moniker, “Dynamite Doug.”

Now Latchford is in the cross-hairs of the Department of Homeland Security and a District Attorney’s Office in the United States.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York said Latchford was charged with wire fraud, smuggling, conspiracy – each charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years – and related charges “pertaining to his trafficking in stolen and looted Cambodian antiquities.”

“As alleged, Latchford built a career out of the smuggling and illicit sale of priceless Cambodian antiquities, often straight from archaeological sites, in the international art market,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement.

The warrant follows years of legal work, diplomatic negotiations, and operations by the New York Field Office of the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which has resulted in the return of rare Cambodian statues dating back to the Angkor Empire.

The statement from the Attorney’s Office said that, through investigative efforts of HSI special agents, three stolen artifacts from Cambodia and one from India, with a total value of $750,000, were recovered and would be returned.

“In addition, an alleged major player in a multi-billion-dollar cultural property transnational criminal network was identified and revealed,” said the statement.

Latchford, 88, remains at large in Thailand, it added. His indictment detailed a long list of alleged crimes beginning in the early 1970s; alleged fraudulent schemes to sell looted art were continuing until as recently as 2012.

“The theft and trafficking of cultural property and priceless national treasures is a global concern. Historical artifacts are living sources of knowledge, objects of worships, and symbols of hope that must be safe guarded for future generations,” HSI Special Agent in Charge Peter Fitzhugh said.

The Cambodian government has complained that many of the statues were stolen during years of civil war, violence, and genocide, including when the country was to laid waste primarily by the Khmer Rouge, who were active in selling rare Angkorian artifacts to fund their war effort.

During this time, Cambodian archaeological sites from the ancient Khmer Empire, such as Angkor Wat and Koh Ker, suffered serious damage and widespread looting. This looting was widely publicized and well-known to participants in the international art market, and looted artifacts usually entered the international art market through an organized looting network.

As the investigation into Latchford unfolds, one can assume it will be watched closely far and wide, including by countries, conservationists, and collectors of major art houses alike.
https://thediplomat.com/2019/12/us-slap ... mite-doug/
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Douglas Latchford
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