Greece has been able to recover hundreds of stolen ancient artifacts after ending a legal battle with the company of disgraced British art dealer Robin Simes. A bronze statue of the young Alexander the Great will also return to Greece from Britain, said the Minister of Culture and Sports of the country, Lina Mendoni.
The Robin Simes collection contains thousands of ancient art objects that were found during illegal excavations and were stored in different countries. Athens believes that Simes played a key role in an international criminal network that traded antiquities.
“Statues, figurines, sculptures, vases, ornaments, crockery and accessories dated from the Neolithic to the Early Byzantine era and were in the possession of the liquidated company Robin Symes Limited, were returned by the Greek state and repatriated after a successful outcome of a multi-year case,” the Ministry of Culture said in a statement. Greece.
A total of 351 items from the Simes collection will return to Greece. Litigation with the art dealer company lasted 17 years.
In 2016, the Swiss police, in cooperation with the Italian police, found that the Simes company was keeping a huge collection of artifacts in the territory of the port of Geneva.
Greek Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni, announcing the return of antiquities, did not specify whether among the artifacts that will be transferred to Athens are items from Robin Simes’ “Swiss collection”.
For many years, Athens has been seeking the return of artifacts that were taken out of Greece at different times.
One of the most debated questions is whether the British Museum should return the statues of the Parthenon in its possession to Greece.
Greece has repeatedly demanded that the UK return the sculptures of the Parthenon – Athens does not recognize the legal permission of the authorities of the Ottoman Empire to export treasures.
Marble friezes, and sculptures of the Parthenon at the beginning of the 19th century were taken from Athens by the British diplomat Lord Elgin. They were bought by the British government in 1816, after which they were placed in the British Museum.
In March of this year, the Vatican returned three fragments from the Parthenon to Greece. Pope Francis then called the return of the monuments an important gesture of friendship.