Disgraced Indian-American dealer convicted for looting Asian art treasures

© AFP - ARUN SANKAR

An Indian court has convicted Indian-American antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor for looting treasures worth millions of euros in a crime spree that put a spotlight on India’s art smuggling industry.

A judge this month ordered a 10-year jail term for Kapoor after convicting the US citizen and his five associates on charges of criminal conspiracy, theft and smuggling of 19 Indian artefacts worth €11 million.

“His empire was much larger than what the prosecution in India presented in the court as thousands of artefacts are linked to him,” a police investigator told RFI from the southern Indian city of Trichy, where the disgraced dealer is behind bars.

Rogue's gallery

The court found that Kapoor headed a network that pillaged ancient sites in India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Cambodia and Pakistan. Using falsified records, he sold stolen items to wealthy collectors through his New York gallery, Art of the Past.

In 2011, Interpol arrested Kapoor in Germany and extradited him to India. The dealer unsuccessfully filed seven separate bail petitions in courts of Tamil Nadu state, where his trial began last year.

The UK, Canada and Italy have also repatriated items that were spirited out of India.

“This is a joke.”


Read more on RFI English

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