Advertisement

The Criminal Organization of the Transnational Trade in Cultural Objects: Two Case Studies

  • Neil Brodie
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter looks at the criminal organization of the transnational trade in antiquities and other cultural objects. It presents comprehensive analyses of two trading networks, paying critical attention to the nature of data sources. First it examines the actions of Subhash Kapoor, a New York-based dealer of Asian art, who was arrested in 2011 on charges related to trafficking cultural objects. Second, it assembles evidence of trading out of Dubai. The chapter concludes by highlighting the role of criminal entrepreneurship in sustaining the trade. It also suggests the importance of brokerage across frontiers for protecting consumers in the destination market from accusations of knowingly acquiring illicitly traded material.

Keywords

Cultural objects Organized crime Antiquities trade 

Bibliography

  1. Angeleti, G. (2015, October 21). Flood of restitutions deepens as museums investigate objects bought through Subhash Kapoor. Art Newspaper. Retrieved from June 1, 2016, from http://theartnewspaper.com/news/museums/flood-of-restitutions-deepens-as-museums-investigate-objects-bought-through-subhash-kapoor/.
  2. Artfix. (2011, October 5). Art of the past presents “by brush and chisel” during Asian art in London. Artfix Daily. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://www.artfixdaily.com/artwire/release/1002-art-of-the-past-presents-by-brush-and-chisel-during-asian-art-in-.
  3. Bouchard, M., & Morselli, C. (2014). Opportunistic structures of organized crime. In L. Paoli (Ed.), Oxford handbook of organized crime (pp. 288–302). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bowes, M. (2014, February 17). After ordeal, collector cleared in smuggling case. Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://www.richmond.com/news/local/chesterfield/after-ordeal-collector-cleared-in-smuggling-case/article_7892d4a1-930a-53da-86b8-9f585cebff3d.html.
  5. Bowman, B. (2008). Transnational crimes against culture. Looting at archaeological sites and the “grey” market in antiquities. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 24(3), 225–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brodie, N. (1998). Pity the poor middlemen. Culture Without Context, 3, 7–9.Google Scholar
  7. Brodie, N. (2011, August 4–5). Scholarship and insurgency? The study and trade of Iraqi antiquities. In Illicit traffic of cultural objects: Law, ethics, and the realities, institute of advanced studies workshop. University of Western Australia. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://traffickingculture.org/publications/brodie-neil-2011-scholarship-and-insurgency-the-study-and-trade-of-iraqi-antiquities-in-illicit-traffic-of-cultural-objects-law-ethics-and-the-realities-an-institute-of-advanced-studies-works/.
  8. Brodie, N. (2015). Syria and its regional neighbors: A case of cultural property protection policy failure? International Journal of Cultural Property, 22, 317–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brodie, N., & Doole, J. (2001). Illicit antiquities. In N. Brodie, J. Doole, & C. Renfrew (Eds.), Trade in illicit antiquities: The destruction of the world’s archaeological heritage (pp. 1–6). Cambridge: McDonald Institute.Google Scholar
  10. Bruer, W., & Rosen, A. (2016, June 3). The feds’ real-life Indiana Jones. CNN. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://edition.cnn.com/2016/06/03/politics/hsi-indiana-jones-homeland-security-investigations/.
  11. Burke, J. (2015, August 3). India struggles to halt multimillion dollar trade in stolen artworks. Guardian.Google Scholar
  12. Campbell, P. B. (2013). The illicit antiquities trade as a transnational criminal network: Characterizing and anticipating trafficking of cultural heritage. International Journal of Cultural Property, 20, 113–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chappell, D., & Polk, K. (2011). Unravelling the “cordata”: Just how organised is the international traffic in cultural objects? In S. Manacorda & D. Chappell (Eds.), Crime in the art and antiquities world (pp. 99–116). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Crennan, S. M. (2016). Review. Asian art provenance project (Canberra: National Gallery of Australia). Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://nga.gov.au/AboutUs/press/pdf/NGAIndependentReview.pdf.
  15. Davis, T., & Mackenzie, S. (2015). Crime and conflict: Temple looting in Cambodia. In J. D. Kila & M. Balcells (Eds.), Cultural property crime (pp. 292–306). Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  16. Dean, G., Fahsing, I., & Gottschalk, P. (2010). Organized crime: Policing illegal business entrepreneurialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dietzler, J. (2013). On “organized crime” in the illicit antiquities trade: Moving beyond the definitional debate. Trends in Organized Crime, 16, 329–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Felch, J. (2013, June 4). SCOOP: New evidence of stolen idols at the national gallery of Australia. Chasing Aphrodite Blog. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from https://chasingaphrodite.com/2013/06/04/scoop-new-evidence-of-stolen-idols-at-the-national-gallery-of-australia/.
  19. Felch, J. (2014a, February 24). UPDATED > Trouble in toledo: feds investigate stolen Ganesh, other objects from Kapoor at Toledo museum. Chasing Aphrodite blog. Retrieved May 31, 2016, from https://chasingaphrodite.com/2014/02/24/trouble-in-toledo-documents-show-museum-bought-stolen-ganesh-from-kapoor/.
  20. Felch, J. (2014b, May 25). UPDATED > Singapore sling: The Asian civilizations museum paid Kapoor more than $1 million. Chasing Aphrodite blog. Retrieved May 31, 2016, from https://chasingaphrodite.com/2014/05/25/singapore-sling-the-asian-civilizations-museum-paid-kapoor-more-than-1-million/.
  21. Felch, J. (2015, November 17). Ball state’s Kapoor return reveals new false provenance. Chasing Aphrodite Blog. Retrieved May 31, 2016, from https://chasingaphrodite.com/2015/11/17/ball-states-kapoor-return-reveals-new-false-provenance/.
  22. Felch, J. (2016a, March 17). Busted: Asia week raids reveal scope of illicit trade in Asian art. Chasing Aphrodite Blog. Retrieved from May 31, 2016, from https://chasingaphrodite.com/2016/03/17/busted-asia-week-raids-reveals-scope-of-illicit-trade-in-asian-art/.
  23. Felch, J. (2016b, March 18). Asia week raids: New details on the Christie’s seizures. Chasing Aphrodite blog. Retrieved May 31, 2016, from https://chasingaphrodite.com/2016/03/18/asia-week-raids-new-details-on-the-christies-seizures/.
  24. Felch, J. (2016c, 3 July). The missing link: Subhash Kapoor’s suppliers in India are (finally) getting rolled up. Chasing Aphrodite Blog. Retrieved April 11, 2017, from https://chasingaphrodite.com/2016/07/03/the-missing-link-subhash-kapoors-suppliers-in-india-are-finally-getting-rolled-up/.
  25. Gay, M. (2015, April 3). Peabody Essex museum hands over Indian artwork involved in trafficking investigation. Boston Globe.Google Scholar
  26. Griffith, L. (2015, May 1). Rare artifacts looted from India turn up at the Honolulu museum of art. Honolulu Magazine. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://www.honolulumagazine.com/ Honolulu-Magazine/May-2015/Rare-Artifacts-Looted-From-India-Turn-Up-at-the-Honolulu-Museum-of-Art/.
  27. HMRC. (2015, September 1). HM revenue and customs v. Riad Issa Mohamad Al Qassas. Westminster Magistrates Court.Google Scholar
  28. ICE. (2012a, October 24). HSI seizes additional stolen statues linked to Manhattan art dealer. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, News Release. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/hsi-seizes-additional-stolen-statues-linked-manhattan-art-dealer.
  29. ICE. (2012b, December 4). ICE seizes statues allegedly linked to Subhash Kapoor, valued at $5 million. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, News Release. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-seizes-statues-allegedly-linked-subhash-kapoor-valued-5-million.
  30. ICE. (2013, December 6). NJ man pleads guilty to selling stolen south central Asian antiquities. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, News Release. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/nj-man-pleads-guilty-selling-stolen-south-central-asian-antiquities.
  31. ICE. (2015a, March 16). Ancient antiquities and Saddam Hussein-era objects returned to Iraq. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, News Release. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ancient-antiquities-and-saddam-hussein-era-objects-returned-iraq.
  32. ICE. (2015b, April 22). ICE returns ancient artifacts to Egypt at national geographic society. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, News Release. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-returns-ancient-artifacts-egypt-national-geographic-society.
  33. ICE. (2015c, July 1). ICE HSI partners with major art collector to recover stolen idol from India. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, News Release. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-hsi-partners-major-art-collector-recover-stolen-idol-india.
  34. ICE. (2015d, November 17). ICE HSI partners with ball state university and the David Owsley museum of art to recover a hidden idol stolen from India. News Release. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-hsi-partners-ball-state-university-and-david-owsley-museum-art-recover-hidden-idol.
  35. ICE. (2016, March 11) ICE recovers stolen Indian artifacts from major auction house ahead of Asia week New York. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, News Release. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-recovers-stolen-indian-artifacts-major-auction-house-ahead-asia-week-new-york.
  36. Kumar, V. (2013a, September 24). Kapoor files—Art of the loot part 6—Seized bronzes with ICE? Poetry in Stone Blog. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://poetryinstone.in/lang/en/2013/09/24/kapoor-files-art-of-the-loot-part-6-seized-bronzes-with-ice.
  37. Kumar, V. (2013b). Kapoor files—Art of the loot part 8—He is in Australia while she is in America. Poetry in Stone blog, 29 October. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://poetryinstone.in/lang/en/2013/10/29/kapoor-files-art-of-the-loot-part-8-he-is-in-australia-while-she-is-in-america.
  38. Kumar, V. (2013c, November 5). Kapoor files—Art of the loot part 9—Toledo Ganesha. Poetry in Stone Blog. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://poetryinstone.in/lang/en/2013/11/ 05/kapoor-files-art-of-the-loot-part-9-toledo-ganesha.
  39. Kumar, V. (2014, September 8). Kapoor files—Art of the loot part 19—The ACM Singapore Uma. Poetry in Stone Blog. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://poetryinstone.in/lang/en/2014/09/08/kapoor-files-art-of-the-loot-part-19-the-acm-singapore-uma.
  40. Lakshman, N. (2012, November 20). Exposing a multi-decade smuggling operation. Hindu.Google Scholar
  41. Mackenzie, S. (2011). The market as criminal and criminals in the market: Reducing opportunities for organised crime in the international antiquities market. In S. Manacorda & D. Chappell (Eds.), Crime in the art and antiquities world (pp. 69–86). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Mackenzie, S., & Davis, T. (2014). Temple looting in Cambodia. British Journal of Criminology, 54, 722–740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Mashberg, T. (2015, April 14). New York authorities seek custody of stolen artifacts worth over $100 million. New York Times.Google Scholar
  44. Mashberg, T. (2016a, March 15). Federal agents seize what they called an illicit antiquity headed for Asia week. New York Times.Google Scholar
  45. Mashberg, T. (2016b, March 16). Ancient statue is seized from Manhattan gallery. New York Times.Google Scholar
  46. Mashberg, T. (2016c, March 17). Law enforcement focuses on Asia week in inquiry of antiquities smuggling. New York Times.Google Scholar
  47. Mashberg, T. (2016d, March 18). Another gallery is raided in antiquities case. New York Times.Google Scholar
  48. Mashberg, T. (2016e, December 21). Prominent antiquities dealer accused of selling stolen artifacts. New York Times.Google Scholar
  49. Mashberg T., & Bearak, M. (2015, July 23). How to smuggle a saint out of India. New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/26/arts/design/kapoor_graphic.html?_r=0.
  50. Mueller, T. (2016, June). How tomb raiders are stealing our history. National Geographic, pp. xx–xx.Google Scholar
  51. Mullen, R. (2014, March 4). Museum’s purchase of bronze art investigated. Toledo Blade.Google Scholar
  52. Nair, S. K. (2015, September 19). German museum all set to return 9th century stolen durga idol’ Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://www.mumbaimirror.com/news/ india/German-museum-all-set-to-return-9th-century-stolen-Durga-idol/articleshow/ 49017497.cms.
  53. Narayanan, V. (2016, June 1). Idol smuggling gang busted. Hindu.Google Scholar
  54. Nistri, G. (2011). The experience of the Italian cultural heritage protection unit. In S. Manacorda & D. Chappell (Eds.), Crime in the art and antiquities world (pp. 183–192). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Northam, J. (2015, March 16). U.S. returns dozens of artifacts to Iraqi government. NPR. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://www.npr.org/2015/03/16/393403146/u-s-returns-dozens-of-artifacts-to-iraqi-government.
  56. Paoli, L. (2014). Introduction. In L. Paoli (Ed.), Oxford handbook of organized crime (pp. 1–12). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Polk, K. (2000, September). The antiquities market viewed as a criminal market. Hong Kong Lawyer, pp. 82–91.Google Scholar
  58. Scott, L. (2013, March 22). Uncle Sam seizes ancient Egyptian art. Courthouse News Service. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/03/22/55962.htm.
  59. Selvaraj, A. (2012a, July 8). Antique smuggler Subash Kapoor to be extradited from Germany. Times of India.Google Scholar
  60. Selvaraj, A. (2012b, July 16). Money trail led investigators to idol smuggler. Times of India.Google Scholar
  61. Selvaraj, A. (2012c, August 5). Stolen idols case: Hong Kong woman, UK Man aided Subhash Kapoor. Times of India.Google Scholar
  62. Shetty, D. (2015, October 22). ACM’s return of “stolen” statue raises questions about artefacts leaving India. Straits Times.Google Scholar
  63. St. Hilaire, R. (2011a, August 19). Seized cultural property identified in khouli + 3 case. Cultural Heritage Lawyer Blog. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/seized-cultural-property-identified-in.html.
  64. St. Hilaire, R. (2011b, August 21). Prosecutors reveal further details in khouli case: Allege one half million dollars paid abroad, smuggled antiquities found in garage, ancient artifacts labeled 19th century “English glass bottles”. Cultural Heritage Lawyer Blog. Retrieved June 1, from http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/prosecutors-reveal-further-details-in.html.
  65. St. Hilaire, R. (2011c). Khouli + 3 case update: Search warrant affidavit describes HSI investigation. Cultural Heritage Lawyer Blog, 23 September. Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/khouli-3-case-update-search-warrant.html.
  66. St. Hilaire, R. (2012a, March 12). Pleadings filed by prosecution and defense attorneys argue Lewis dismissal motion in US v. Khouli et al. Cultural Heritage Lawyer Blog. Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/pleadings-filed-by-prosecution-and.html.
  67. St. Hilaire, R. (2012b, May 3). Part II: Motions Filed by Lewis and Alshdaifat in U.S. v. Khouli et al. Take aim at the government—Smuggling statute claimed to be overbroad. Cultural Heritage Lawyer blog. Retrieved June 1, from http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/part-ii-motions-filed-by-lewis-and.html.
  68. St. Hilaire, R. (2012c, July 23). Objection filed: Prosecution outlines factual claims in U.S. v. Khouli et al. Cultural Heritage Lawyer Blog. Retrieved June 1, from http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/objection-filed-prosecution-outlines.html#more.
  69. St. Hilaire, R. (2012d, July 30). Unveiling the import and export of trafficked heritage: The Kapoor/art of the past case examined. Cultural Heritage Lawyer Blog. Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/unveiling-import-and-export-of.html.
  70. St. Hilaire, R. (2012e, November 18). Jail or no jail? Sentencing arguments filed in US v. Khouli. Cultural Heritage Lawyer Blog. Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/jail-or-no-jail-sentencing-arguments.html.
  71. St. Hilaire, R. (2012f, December 21). US v. Khouli et al. update: Second guilty plea expected today in Egyptian antiquities case. Cultural Heritage Lawyer Blog. Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/us-v-khouli-et-al-update-second-guilty.html.
  72. St. Hilaire, R. (2013a, January 8). U.S. v. Khouli et al. update: Motion to defer prosecution ushers rapid end to antiquities case. Cultural Heritage Lawyer Blog. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/us-v-khouli-et-al-update-motion-to.html.
  73. St. Hilaire, R. (2013b, March 23). New York prosecutors seek to forfeit ancient Egyptian artifacts. Cultural Heritage Lawyer Blog. Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/new-york-prosecutors-seek-to-forfeit.html.
  74. St. Hilaire, R. (2013c, July 24). Seized Assyrian head named in forfeiture complaint-smuggling allegations raised. Cultural Heritage Lawyer Blog. Retrieved May 25, 2016, from http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/seized-assyrian-head-named-in.html.
  75. St. Hilaire, R. (2015, March 15). Kapoor idol trafficking conspirator sentenced. Cultural Heritage Lawyer Blog. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/kapoor-idol-trafficking-conspirator.html.
  76. Tamil Nadu. (n.d.). Busting of international racket. Government of Tamil Nadu, Police Department, Economic Offences Wing. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://www.tneow.gov.in/IDOL/status_info.html.
  77. Taylor, A. (2013, October 17). Stolen statue: Art gallery of NSW checks its collection. Sydney Morning Herald.Google Scholar
  78. Tijhuis, A. J. G. (2006). Transnational crime and the interface between legal and illegal actors. Nijmegen: Wolf Legal.Google Scholar
  79. Tijhuis, A. J. G. (2011). The trafficking problem: A criminological perspective. In S. Manacorda & D. Chappell (Eds.), Crime in the art and antiquities world (pp. 87–98). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. TMA. (2015). Toledo museum of art to return four works of art with falsified or inadequate provenance documentation to republic of India. Toledo Museum of Art. Retrieved June 1, 2016, from http://www.toledomuseum.org/provenance/kapoor-acquisitions/.
  81. USA. (2011). United States of America Against Mousa Khouli, also known as “Morris Khouli”, Salem Alshdaifat, Joseph A. Lewis II, and Ayman Ramadan. Indictment, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York.Google Scholar
  82. USA. (2012, 18 April). Antiquities dealer pleads guilty to smuggling Egyptian cultural property. United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, News Release. Retrieved March 18, 2015, from http://www.justice.gov/usao/nye/pr/2012/2012apr18c.html.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil Brodie
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations