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“Sweet Return” for 55 antiqueties

In an atmosphere of great philhellenic and emotional atmosphere, 55 archaeological finds of high art, wtih historic kai symbolic value, were handed over,to the Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni by Alvin Bragg, District Attorney of Manhattan. Lina Mendoni began her speech by saying that “it is a day of great significance for the city of Athens and the 47 antiquities from the M. Steinhardt Collection are returning home”, as well as another 8 prehistoric works from Thessaly, which come from another research, referring to “a methodical and tireless effort” on the part of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, with special reference to both Alvin Bragg and his predecessor, Cyrus Vance.
In addition, she spoke warmly of Matthew Bogdanos and of the contribution of the services of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, who provided key information that allowed the full documentation of the
projects in the context of this difficult investigation. “Your enormous success”, he said, “is not only the antiquities returning to their countries of origin, among them Greece, but the resounding message to all those involved in the illegal trafficking of cultural goods, that sooner or later the time will come when their illegal transactions will be exposed and they themselves will face the consequences of their actions”. “We are deeply convinced”, said Lina Mendoni, “that the fight against the illegal trafficking of cultural goods is won with patience, perseverance and methodicalness, but above all with the close cooperation of people, institutions and states that consciously fight against the great crime of antiquities theft. The illegal trafficking of our country’s cultural treasures is a heavy trauma that hurts all Greeks all over the world”.

(From the handover ceremony)

Attorney General Alvin Bragg expressed his excitement that
for contributing to the completion of this investigation, giving credit to the the team of the expatriate, Assistant District Attorney, Matthew Bogdanos and the Special Homeland Security Investigative Agent Ricky Patel, emphasizing his appreciation for Greece and Minister of Culture Lina Mendoni. “It is an honor,” he said in his address, “to be here and to be part of this work.  Thank you for their very good work our partners, special agent Ricky Patel and of course our international.

Madam Minister, it is a great privilege for us that you have trusted us and
to have you here and even to return these archaeological
finds.  I also want to mention Matthew Bogdanos and his team,
who is synonymous with this investigation.  They are a dream team.”
Matthew Bogdanos added that it’s not just about the artifacts of
Steinhardt collection, but also some other items that were dealt with in
different investigations conducted by the New York State Attorney General’s office.
Concluding the ceremony, the Minister of Culture said that “Today is
the “sweet return”, the sweet day of returning home after years
of wandering, changing illegal owners, falsified documents
of purchase and sale. But antiquities always retain their truth, a
a truth interwoven with the history of the land that gave birth to them. We welcome them home with unspeakable joy and express to you once again our profound thanks.