National Gallery returns $ 3 million worth of looted art to India

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The National Gallery of Australia is set to finally purge its collection of artwork associated with disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor with the return of 14 objects valued at $ 3 million to the Indian government.

The works, which include bronze and stone sculptures, a painted scroll, and photographs, were acquired by the NGA between 1989 and 2009.

Art dealer Subhash Kapoor was brought to justice in India in 2012.

The museum has determined that the pieces were looted, illegally exported or otherwise marketed in an unethical manner.

“Based on the evidence available to us, Kapoor has demonstrated that its business practices are unethical,” said NGA Director Nick Mitzevich.

One of the works returned: The Dancing Child Saint Sambandar, which was purchased in 2005

One of the works returned: The Dancing Child Saint Sambandar, which was purchased in 2005

New York-based Kapoor was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2011, after Indian investigators alerted Interpol that they had evidence linking Kapoor to antiques looted in southern India. He is still awaiting trial in India and is the subject of an extradition request from the Manhattan District Attorney.

In a statement released in March, the prosecutor’s office said its antiques trafficking unit had been investigating Kapoor “for many years”, accusing him of being involved in “illegal looting, exporting and sale. ancient art from Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Cambodia, Thailand, Nepal, Indonesia and other nations ”.

They accused Kapoor of operating a $ 145 million ($ 197 million) smuggling ring over 30 years.

The presence of Kapoor objects in its collection has long been a source of embarrassment for the NGA.

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