The Hobby Lobby Case Shows Why Smuggling Ancient Artifacts Is Hugely Profitable
Craft Hall, an Oklahoma-based handicraft retailer, agreed Wednesday to pay a fine of 3 million after federal prosecutors have alleged thousands that the company had illegally imported artifacts from ancient Native American Iraq clay.
The government says that the Green family, evangelical Christians who have the hall of mania and are perhaps best known for their role in a crucial Supreme Court case regarding religious exemptions Affordable Care Act, had purchased thousands of cuneiform tablets and The clay bubbles falsely labeled and shipped to the UAE and Israel.
Presumed labels falsely describe cuneiform package tablets as “samples” of tiles. In addition to the fine, the company agreed to waive thousands of artifacts it had purchased for $ 1.6 million in 2010, a market “led red flags,” the government said.
The complicated case highlights the explosion of smuggling trade seen in Iraq and other countries around the world, and how antiquities can be bought controversially and illegally.
“By recognizing that while some may price these artifacts, the people of Iraq consider it priceless,” said Angel Melendez, a US immigration and customs specialist, in a statement.
There are strict procedures and rules exist to ensure that cultural assets acquired by individuals, businesses or museums in the US Come from legal sources, experts said MONEY.
But prominent museums and institutions often require extensive research and communication with suppliers in different countries to ensure that the purchase is done legally and with an understanding of the origins of an object.
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“Anyone who buys antiques that are not guaranteed to be exported legally from the country of origin contributes to the smuggling of archaeological sites,” said Elizabeth Stone, a professor of anthropology at Stony Brook University and an expert on antiquities in Iraq and ancient Mesopotamia.
In the hallway case of mania, the government said the company had consulted a cultural property expert who has warned that the items could have been stolen. Leila Amineddoleh, a cultural goods specialist who has been consulted by the government in the mania lobby case, said the investment in the company’s recommendations raised “many questions”.
“Why consult someone and not follow that advice?” Amineddoleh said.
Smuggling and looting plague archaeological sites around the world. But the issue is more pronounced in countries now or recently involved in the struggle.
Such war-ravaged nations are “ripe for looting, smuggling and illegal sale obtained from these objects,” said David Bowker, President of the International Litigation Group of the WilmerHale law firm.
“This is a virtual and virtual minefield for acquiring anti-conflict and post-conflict areas because there is so much looting and smuggling in Iraq and Syria and the wider region,” said Bowker, who wrote in property law Cultural journal of the American Journal of International Law. “We have to be very careful not to be separated – even without intention – from being part of this illicit trade of antiquities.”