Legal costs towards the French curator Jean-François Charnier, for having “facilitated the gross sales” of allegedly looted Egyptian antiquities to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, are being dropped following a call of the very best French court docket. Nevertheless, the court docket has rejected the attraction of the previous director of the Louvre, Jean-Luc Martinez, upholding his indictment with “complicity in gang fraud”.
Each males had been indicted in 2022 in relation to the Egyptian antiquities trafficking investigation which has implicated a lot of sellers and main artwork establishments together with the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork in New York. The costs towards Martinez and Charnier had been upheld by a chamber of the Paris court docket of attraction in February.
On Tuesday (14 November), the French excessive court docket determined that correct process had not been adopted when Charnier, a former senior curator of the France Muséums consultancy in control of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, was positioned in custody in July 2022. The court docket discovered the choose had not been duly knowledgeable by investigators beforehand of the motives for his arrest. His custody and subsequent indictment ought to due to this fact have been annulled by the appeals court docket, which is able to now need to overview the case. Nevertheless, the ruling doesn’t forestall the choose from interviewing Charnier once more.
Martinez’s arrest in Could 2022 on costs regarding his position as chairman of the scientific council that supervised Abu Dhabi’s acquisitions despatched shock waves by the artwork world. He served as president-director of the Louvre in Paris from 2013 to 2021.
Each males have denied any wrongdoing, saying that doubts over the provenance of the Egyptian antiquities bought to the Louvre Abu Dhabi for a complete of €40m by French seller Christophe Kunicki had been solely raised in 2019, years after their buy by the Emirati museum.
The antiquities trafficking investigation was launched when the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork needed to return to Egypt a golden sarcophagus it had purchased from Kunicki. The German seller Serop Simonian, suspected to be the supply of those antiquities, was arrested in Hamburg and transferred to France, the place he was jailed on 15 September on costs of gang fraud and laundering.