Nearly 40 objects, once belonging to billionaire collector Michael Steinhardt, were recovered by Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and to be returned to Israel.
Michael Steinhardt and his wife Judy, once considered one of the most prominent collectors in New York, fell from grace last December when they were accused of collecting stolen artefacts. A ban was placed on Steinhardt, as he gave up 180 objects in his collection. However, these objects – collectively valued at $70 million – are not yet completely recovered. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has been working to recover more and more of these objects.
During this process, the office announced the return of 39 objects, stolen from Israel, to be repatriated to the country. These objects are valued at $5 million. However, only 28 of the objects have been returned to Israel on Tuesday, while 8 objects are yet to be found. The remaining 3 objects were ‘transferred’ to the country (no further details were given), while two additional objects were returned to Palestinian authorities.
In a statement, Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. (District Attorney, Manhattan) said: “These rare and beautiful artefacts, which are thousands of years old, have been kept from the public because of illegal looting and trafficking. My office is proud to once again return historic antiquities to where they rightfully belong.”
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Before his fall from grace, Michael Steinhardt featured in top collectors lists and loaned his collection to museums like MMA, New York. However, he was always surrounded by controversies, like when he was accused of sexual harassment at the workplace in 2019.