Greek police bust massive looting operating

Greek police have busted a large-scale criminal organization that trafficked in looted antiquities. More than 2,000 artifacts, most of them coins dating from as early as the 6th century B.C., were confiscated in the bust. There are 2024 coins, 126 assorted artifacts, the oldest of which is a marble Cycladic figurine from the 3rd millennium B.C. Other artifacts include gold jewelry, three gold plates weighing a total of 110 grams, bronze arrow tips, a bronze animal figurine, a glass vase, five Byzantine icons, a Byzantine cross, and two medieval statues of a male warrior and a woman which were found hidden in a well in Nemea.

Led by the police directorate in Patras, southwestern Greece, authorities investigated the operation for 14 months. More than 50 people are believed to have been part of the ring which ranged all over the country and covered every part of the traffic from illegal excavations to illegal export. The gang found artifacts by digging at or nearby known archaeological sites and by using satellite imagery to identify new potential sites. The worker bees would dig at night to avoid detection, and the leaders of the ring would then arranged for the sale of the artifacts by directly negotiating with auction houses and private buyers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK.

Thanks to extensive documentation found in the bust, police have the full receipts on who bought what when. The dirty auction houses, which Greek authorities are not naming because of laws protecting suspects from exposure before trial, not only knowingly ginned up bullshit ownership histories (heyo Swiss private collection!), they also conspired with the looters to artificially jack up the bids during live auctions to squeeze more money out of buyers and even went so far as to give these bastards tens of thousands of euros so they’d have the cash to buy black market artifacts, mainly coins, that they hadn’t themselves excavated.

Underscoring the wide range of the criminal conspiracy, police also found a cache of weapons — modern shotguns, rifles, pistols, air guns, bullets, a silencer, plus an antique pistol and antique swords — 21 metal detectors, 73 cellphones, 17 computers, currency measuring scales, piles of cash in euros, dollars and Kuwaiti dinars and counterfeit plates. But wait, there’s more! Seven cars and some cannabis, to be precise.

Two of the leaders of the gang, a 54-year-old father and 27-year-old son, were arrested Sunday at the Greek-Bulgarian border. Police found 946 ancient coins and 32 ancient artifacts hidden in the bumper of their car. Another 24 members of the gang were arrested as well. It seems this outfit has been operating for at least 10 years.

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5 Comments »

Comment by John K
2016-10-07 02:43:42

Last paragraph
Father and 27-year- old sun?

Comment by livius drusus
2016-10-07 03:25:32

Today in “When spellcheckers are not your friends.” Thankfully I have a phalanx of volunteer proofreaders to make up for my failings and technology’s. Thank you! :thanks:

 
 
Comment by Sofia
2016-10-07 05:43:01

Still, I wonder if the ‘full receipt on who bought what when‘ will be ever revealed.

The Byzantine stuff might be directly stolen, and seemingly, some Thracian graves were robbed here. Those clunky ‘Frankish’ tombstones/ statues appear to originate from a 1950’s Hollywood film set, and one might wonder if they are genuine, or if they were part of a bigger structure.

The locals dubbed almost everything from elsewhere in the West ‘Frankish’, including the ‘Frankish’ castles that were actually built by the Venetians, e.g.: Φραγκοκάστελλο.

 
Comment by Hels
2016-10-07 17:10:26

If the gang has been operating successfully for ten years, the police got a hot tip off this time or fell over the haul with simple, dumb luck. How much more treasure is there out there, as yet undetected?

 
Comment by Rob
2016-10-08 15:27:33

I agree the so-called Frankish grave figures(?) look like something sold at Value Village for Halloween.

After six centuries of the Turkish “blood tax” by which they genocidally abducted the best Christian children every five years throughout the Ottoman Empire, kidnapped to be sold as slaves or put into the harems or the Janissaries and of course forcibly converted to Islam, it’s no wonder Greece and some other former Ottoman possessions seem so morally destitute at times. Six centuries of that would ruin any society, and create well of bitterness that would last for millennia.

 
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