New York returns $19 million in stolen art, including 21 pieces housed at the Met  

USA TODAY

New York City returned 58 pieces of stolen art worth roughly $19 million to Italy, the Manhattan district attorney’s office announced this week. The antiquities had been trafficked by four men in Italy, and many of the pieces eventually ended up in the collection of Michael Steinhardt, a billionaire art collector who received a lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities following a multi-year investigation that began in 2017, according to a news release. That investigation culminated in December with the seizure of 180 stolen pieces of art valued at $70 million. The 58 pieces returned to Italy “represent thousands of years of rich history, yet traffickers throughout Italy utilized looters to steal these items and to line their own pockets,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in the news release. “For far too long, they have sat in museums, homes, and galleries that had no rightful claim to their ownership,” Bragg said. The district attorney said it seized 21 of the pieces from New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The antiquities were returned during a ceremony attended by Italian and American officials.

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