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The Glyptotek and Italy: Latest Developments 14 December 2006

Posted by Troels in : Archaeology,Ethics , trackback

The Copenhagen Glyptotek case made the frontpage of Information the other day. The recent developments have been more concerned with the domestic handling of the case rather than talks with Italy.

Over a period of five years, the Danish Ministry of Justice has refused to co-operate with the Italian investigators in the Hecht-Medici trial for the apparent reason that Italy requested the return of several antiques now housed in the Glyptotek. The Ministry has now admitted that they were wrong all along and that, in fact, Italy has never asked for the return of any items from Danish museums. Here’s what Paolo Ferri, principal investigator of the Hecht-Medici case, had to say about the Ministry’s efforts (Information, 13 December, p. 7, my translation):

The Ministry has not been in good faith. They received a number of investigation requests from me, and they received the first of these five years ago….Somebody in the Ministry has acted wrongly and is now trying to save his bacon. I’m happy that they’re correcting their mistakes, but it happens too late for me to accept it happened in good faith.

Of interest to the Italian investigators are a number of antiques that were sold by Hecht and Medici to the Glyptotek in the 1970s. Among these are the lavish grave-goods from an Etruscan grave. Ferri has now asked that the Glyptotek hand over all paperwork related to the acquisition of these items. To be continued, I assume.

Newspaper clippings:
Kulturministeren: Museer skal levere tyvekoster tilbage” (“Minister of Culture: Museums must return stolen goods”), Information, 14 December.
‘Nu må Glyptoteket tale’” (“‘The Glyptotek must co-operate now'”), Information, 13 December.
Justitsministeriet i Glyptoteket-sagen: ‘Vi lægger os fladt ned og erkender, at vi har begået fejl’” (“Ministry of Justice in the Glyptotek-case: ‘We admit that we have made mistakes'”), Information, 11 December.
Ministerium undskylder fejl i sag om italiensk kunsttyveri” (“Ministry apologizes for error in Italian art theft case”), Politiken, 11 December.


1. Iconoclasm » The Blame Game Continues… - 18 January 2007

[…] I’ve been following the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek case and the Danish failure to help the Italian investigators in the major Hecht-Medici trial over the smuggling and sale of illegal antiquities. Not much has happened while I’ve been away, except for continued accusations by various opposition politicians that the Danish Ministry of Justice has failed its obligation to co-operate in the Italian trial and that they are now trying to put the blame on the Danish police. […]