Greek police search Switzerland for artefacts stolen from Olympia museum

A week ago, it was reported that Greek police were searching Switzerland for artefacts stolen from the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games; but there have been no reports of recovery of artefacts, or arrests of suspects.

(Elsewhere, I’ve posted information on the robbery, and descriptions and photographs of the missing objects.)

Apparently, ‘information indicate[d] that many of the stolen items [πληροφορία αναφέρει πως πολλά από τα κλεμμένα αντικείμενα]’ were in Switzerland, allegedly ‘contradicting police assessments that the theft was amateur [διαψεύδοντας τις εκτιμήσεις των αστυνομικών, ότι η κλοπή ήταν ερασιτεχνική]’; but they still haven’t caught any of the criminals or recovered any of the artefacts.

And they don’t have a good record in identifying suspects in the Olympia robbery; or, indeed, in reporting/leaking accurate information.

Switzerland is a key point in the global illicit antiquities trade, so it is a plausible destination for the stolen goods (or, more likely, a point of exchange in a longer journey to Britain, Germany, the U.S. or elsewhere).

However, more than six weeks have passed since the armed robbery of the museum in Olympia. Six weeks would suffice for an amateur to find a dealer capable of helping; or for the artefacts to pass through several pairs of hands, up the line from an opportunistic thief to an organised criminal network.

So, even if the police did find Olympic artefacts in Switzerland (and that is still an “if“), it would not necessarily be evidence that the original robbery was a professional heist rather than a (comparatively opportunistic) hold-up.

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11 Responses to “Greek police search Switzerland for artefacts stolen from Olympia museum”

  1. Please continue to pursue this story. Can you describe more about the trade routes in conflict antiquities, especially the roles that Switzerland and the U.S. play? Assuming stolen Greek artefacts are smuggled into CH…most likely how? specifically where–i.e what airports, rail stations, cities or borders? Is CH more of a transit point or final destination in your opinion? Do you think the UN or Interpol should be doing more? Or how are these organizations best likely to help thwart the trade and bring perpetrators to justice? Just as the sex trade piggy backs on the annual car show in Geneva, do you think there may be a “seasonality” or similarly symbiotic factors at work that continue to make Switzerland an attractive hub for conflict antiquities?

  2. I’m currently a student in a paralegal studies program as well as a digital forensics program. I have an undergraduate degree in art history, interned at an art museum in the American Midwest, and have participated in a medieval dig in southern France. I am hoping to combine these interests and somehow forge a new career in the areas of law or law enforcement.

  3. Sounds like a nice programme. Good luck!

  4. Thanks for the link.

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