Hedge fund founder Steinhardt will return looted antiquities

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Manhattan district attorney says billionaire hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt has agreed to turn over more than $70 million of stolen antiquities

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NEW YORK — Billionaire hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt has agreed to turn over more than $70 million of stolen antiquities and will be subject to an unprecedented lifetime ban on obtaining antiquities, the Manhattan District Attorney announced Monday. .

In return, Steinhardt, a philanthropist who is president of the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, and co-founder of Birthright Israel, an organization that sends young Jews on free trips to Israel, was given the illegally smuggled pieces. You don’t have to face criminal charges to get it. Prosecutors said in 11 countries, including Egypt, Greece, Israel, Syria and Turkey.

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District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said, “For decades, Michael Steinhardt has had an insatiable appetite for looted artifacts without concern for the legitimacy of his works, the legitimacy of the pieces he bought and sold, or the serious cultural damage he has caused around the world.” displayed.” said in a news release. “His quest for ‘new’ additions to display and sell knew no geographic or moral limits, as reflected in the vast underworld of antiques smugglers, crime bosses, money launderers and tomb raiders, on which he built his Trusted to expand the collection.”

A message seeking comment from Steinhardt was left with the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life.

Steinhardt, who turned 81 on Tuesday, founded the hedge fund Steinhardt Partners in 1967 and spun off in 1995. He came out of retirement in 2004 as head of Wisdom Tree Investments.

New York University named its Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development after Steinhardt in recognition of two $10 million donations.

Manhattan prosecutors began investigating Steinhardt’s collection of ancient artifacts in 2017 and raided his office and his Manhattan home in 2018, confiscating several artifacts that were looted by investigators.

Prosecutors said many of the pieces acquired by Steinhardt during war or civil unrest were removed from their countries of origin.

Items surrendered by Steinhardt include the head of a stag as a ceremonial vessel for libation, from 400 BC, which prosecutors say was unproven in the international market after massive looting in Milas, Turkey. Have you seen. The district attorney said the stag’s head was worth $3.5 million.

There was also a small chest for human remains from the Greek island of Crete, dating from about 1300 BCE, which prosecutors said was bought from a known antiquity smuggler.

According to prosecutors, while complaining about a subpoena requesting documentation for a separate piece, Steinhardt pointed to the larynx and told an investigator: “You see this piece? It has no origin. If I see a piece and I like it, I buy it.”

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