New York has returned hundreds of looted antiquities related to disgraced dealer Subhash Kapoor to India

Hundreds of looted antiquities worth some $4 million were returned to India earlier this week in a ceremony held at the Indian Consulate in New York. More than 235 of the items were seized as part of the New York District Attorney’s ongoing investigation into disgraced dealer Subhash Kapoor and others associated with known traffickers Nancy Wiener and Nayef Homsi.

“These antiquities were stolen by multiple complex and sophisticated people smugglers,” DA Alvin Bragg said in a statement, adding that “the leaders showed no respect for the cultural or historical significance of these objects.”

Kapoor was first arrested in Germany in 2011 as part of a large-scale operation known as Operation Hidden Idol. He then went on trial in India, where he was jailed in 2012. At the time, authorities claimed Kapoor had kept about $100 million worth of stolen art in storage facilities, and thousands of artifacts and artwork have been recovered since his first arrest.

Bragg’s office filed a criminal charge in 2019 against Kapoor for operating a $145 million smuggling ring over three decades, during which he was seen as a respected member of the New York art and antiquities trade. One of the works that came back earlier this week was the Arch Parika, a 12th- to 13th-century antiquity that was smuggled from India to New York in May 2002 by order of Kapoor. Kapoor then sold the $85,000 piece to the Nathan Rubin-Ida Ladd Family Foundation, which donated the work to the Yale University library in 2007.

Another object, the Vishnu and Lakshmi with GarudaDating back to the 11th century, it was linked to Nany Wiener, who sold looted antiquities with her late mother, Doris, in New York. Wiener was arrested in 2016 and pleaded guilty in 2021 after paying $1.2 million in forfeitures and fines.

The OM has returned more than 680 antiquities to 13 countries this year, worth $84 million. Since its inception in 2017, it has returned approximately 2,200 objects, valued at over $160 million.

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