PARIS (AP) — The former president of the Louvre Museum has received preliminary allegations of alleged antiquities trafficking during his tenure as head of the famed Parisian museum.
According to the Paris prosecutor’s office, on Wednesday the police of the French capital accused Jean-Luc Martinez of “complicity in organized fraud” and money laundering.
Prosecutors said two of Martinez’s former colleagues from the Louvre’s department of Egyptian antiquities were also arrested this week but released without charge.
The Paris prosecutor’s office has not confirmed French media reports that the three men are suspected of involvement in the illegal circulation of priceless heritage items.
According to the newspaper Le Canard Enchaine, investigators were looking into whether Martinez “turned a blind eye” to false evidence of the origin of five Egyptian antiquities.
The newspaper reported that the items, including a granite stele or slab of Tutankhamun, were sold in 2016 when the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a branch of the Paris museum, purchased several Egyptian antiquities for tens of millions of euros (dollars).
Last year, Martinez stepped down as president of the Louvre, which he had held since 2013. He is now an Ambassador for International Heritage Cooperation. The current president of the museum is Laurence de Carse.
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