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Wednesday 17 September 2014

Agents seize 'looted' Roman statue

Published 01/03/2014 | 02:22

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Homeland Security investigators with a crate containing an ancient Roman sculpture seized in New York (AP)

Agents have seized an ancient Roman sarcophagus lid from a New York City storage warehouse after Italy said it was looted from the country decades ago.

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A marble statue of a reclining half-clad woman is carved in the lid of the funeral box.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents said the statue appeared at a public exhibition in New York as recently as last week. Authorities do not know when it entered the US.

In court papers, federal prosecutors said the statue was believed to be one of the antiquities obtained illegally by Italian art dealer Gianfranco Becchina.

Becchina, who ran an antiquities gallery in Basel, Switzerland, was convicted in 2011 of trafficking in plundered Roman artefacts.

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