Archive for ‘News & Analysis’

09/01/2019

Adnan Oktar (or Harun Yahya), truckloads of ‘antiquities’ and a ‘stolen’ painting

When I summarily checked the coverage of cultural property crime in Russia-controlled, Turkish-language Sputnik News, I was reminded of the ongoing case against Islamic televangelist cult leader (and, inevitably, conspiracy theorist) Adnan Oktar (who is also referred to as Adnan Hoca and also operates as Harun Yahya and Adnan Harun Yahya).

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03/01/2019

EU-Brazil Sector Dialogues on interoperability of systems for combating illicit trafficking of cultural objects

crisis

Brazil has endured chronic crisis, including widespread crime and violence in society and money-laundering and other corrupt criminality throughout its political elite, which has contributed to popular authoritarianism. And it is entering acute crisis.

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24/12/2018

antiquities dealer Fuat Aydıner, aviation service CEO Gökhan Sarıgöl and 14,000 cultural objects

The basics of this case are fairly simple, yet its implications may be far-reaching, if it is ever satisfactorily concluded, whether it results in convictions or acquittals. This post covers the sources; the question of whether it is the biggest case in the history of the Republic of Turkey (which it may be, by one practically immeasurable definition); a summary of the priceless objects and fake objects that have been seized; a summary of the metal-detectors, money, guns and drugs that have been seized; and a summary of the suspects, with separate sections on unspecified businessman Onur Uğurlu, antiquities dealer Fuat Aydıner and aviation businessman Gökhan Sarıgöl. Then, there is a note on conspiracy and coincidence.

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21/11/2018

Turkey’s ‘operation against Anadolu Kültür’s demand… to confront the past’

Or: a long aside on (dis)trust and (un)freedom in Turkey.

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19/11/2018

prosecutors and prosecutions in antiquities trafficking cases in Turkey: uncertainty in information, uncertainty in rule of law

As BBC News correspondent Mark Lowen has explained, the citizens of Turkey are both ‘addicted to conspiracy theories’ and ‘besieged by “fake news”‘. The problem is worsened by government-aligned ‘fake fact-checkers’, while it is resisted by sincere truth-seekers such as the citizen journalists of Teyit (Confirmation or Verification).

While news about cultural property crime in Turkey is blighted more by churnalism than by propaganda, like everything else, it is burdened by uncertainty of information and uncertainty of rule of law. This is demonstrated by the career of one prosecutor, who has hit the headlines once more.

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15/08/2018

antiquities trafficking in the digital age

In World Politics Review, anthropologists Amr Al-Azm (@alazmamr) and Katie Paul (@AnthroPaulicy) have previewed their ongoing investigations into the Middle East’s other Facebook revolution: antiquities trafficking in the digital age, where looters, sellers and buyers are exploiting social networks such as Facebook and smartphone apps such as Telegram, Viber and WhatsApp, as well as online platforms such as eBay, Etsy and LiveAuctioneers.

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06/08/2018

technical updates to legal threats by convicted criminals (and family members) against expert witnesses in antiquities cases

Just in case feed-readers don’t otherwise see, I’ve made some technical updates to the post on legal threats by convicted criminals (and family members) against expert witnesses in antiquities cases.

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04/08/2018

legal threats by convicted criminals (and family members) against expert witnesses in antiquities cases

On the 26th of July 2018, a court in Greece judged that Despina Papadimitriou and Dimitri Papadimitriou were guilty of “embezzlement of monuments” or “misappropriation of monuments” (υπεξαίρεση μνημείων) in the Schinoussa case, which originated in an investigation into trading by Papadimitriou family relative Christo Michaelides. When convicted, Despina and Dimitri were given suspended sentences of four years’ imprisonment.

On the 27th, forensic archaeologist and expert witness Christos Tsirogiannis was sent a letter by Bird and Bird LLP, the legal representatives of deceased Christo Michaelides’s sister Despina Papadimitriou, nephew Dimitri Papadimitriou, nephew Alexander Papadimitriou and niece Angeliki Papadimitriou (the Papadimitriou family).

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04/04/2018

antiquities dealers, Jaume Bagot Peix and Oriol Carreras Palomar, arrested on suspicion of jihadi terrorist financing by illicit antiquities dealing

On 26th March 2018, two 31-year-old antiquities dealers were arrested (detenido) and released on bail (puesto en libertad bajo fianza) in Barcelona, Spain. They were codenamed Mr. J.B.P. (or JBP) and Mr. O.C.P. (or OCP).

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02/04/2018

Operation Hieratica (Operación Hierática) update: three smugglers convicted, fined, imprisoned

Reading the news about the arrests of antiquities dealers Jaume Bagot Peix and Oriol Carreras Palomar, I was reminded of Operation Hieratica (Operación Hierática). As I blogged in 2015, Operation Hieratica was part of Operation Aureus, which was directed by the Civil Guard in Spain and the police in Cyprus, coordinated by Europol, assisted by Interpol and supported by UNESCO. Between 2nd June 2014 and 19th November 2014, there were thousands of checks and searches of people and vehicles across Europe.

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