Ancient Latin American art collection seized in GermanyApril 30th, 2008 - 5:14 pm ICT by admin
Munich (Germany), April 30 (DPA) German police have swooped on a warehouse and seized a collection of Mayan, Aztec and Inca art, which governments have been trying to keep off the art market, officials said Wednesday. The artefacts, allegedly spirited into Germany in defiance of a Spanish ban, are said to be worth $100 million on the open market.
Countries such as Costa Rica, Peru and Colombia regard the treasures as part of their national heritage and not for sale. Bavarian detectives seized the art a week ago, state police and prosecutors said.
The newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung said Spanish officials had previously sealed the items to await legal procedures clarifying who owns them.
It said a Costa Rican art collector claims they are his.
The paper said he appeared to have organised the mysterious transport of the collection from Spain to Munich although he was not able to show German police any export permit.
Many countries ban exports of ancient art, effectively preventing such items from reaching international auctions and the rich Western collectors who bid there.
Some countries give local museums the first right to acquire such artefacts.