GREECE: Police arrests 26 in bust of alleged antiquities smuggling ring

Police in Greece arrest 26 in bust of alleged antiquities smuggling ringInvestigators recovered more than 2,000 objects, mostly coins, that they say were offered for sale through auction houses. Greek police have busted what they say is a criminal organisation that has been looting antiquities from ancient sites in the country for the past 10 years and smuggling them out to auction houses and private buyers in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the UK. A spokesman for the Patras police department in western Greece, which led the 14-month investigation, said on Wednesday that more than 50 people were involved in the ring and 26 arrests have been made.

Police said the works were sold using fake provenance documents attributing them to private collections in Europe, but that the auction houses involved (which have not been named) knew the coins were illicit property and often helped inflate the final prices paid for them.

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