• gerard van weyenbergh

High figures of French art world arrested for stolen art

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

Stolen art, several high figures of Parisian art world arrested

The president of the auction house Pierre Bergé & Associés, an expert in Mediterranean archeology, a former curator of the Louvre, a renowned Parisian gallery owner and an art dealer were arrested on Monday and Tuesday by agents of the Central Office against trafficking in the cultural property (OCBC). These respected people from the world of antiques in Paris are suspected of having "laundered" antiques and works of art stolen or looted in several countries. Countries plagued by political instability since the early 2010s and the emergence of the Arab Spring: Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Syria. According to sources familiar with the matter, this traffic would have involved hundreds of items and would involve several tens of millions of euros. The OCBC agents suspect these five personalities having "storefront" to have made up, with the help of intermediaries on-site, the origin and history of these works to then legally resell them to individuals but also to major cultural institutions such as The Louvre Abu Dhabi or the Met of New York. "It is a very large file which goes far beyond the hexagonal borders," commented one of the sources.