The office of the Manhattan District Attorney has charged Subhash Kapoor and seven individuals in a antiquities massive smuggling network. The arrest warrants filed yesterday allege Kapoor travelled to India to discuss the looting of objects, he then shipped these objects to London to be cleaned and restored, and finally these objects were given fraudulent histories before being sold through his galleries.
These arrests show the potential use of state and federal cooperation, unfortunately a massive investigation this large takes time. As Chasing Aprhorite pointed out, these arrest warrants come 7 years after federal agents raided Kapoor’s gallery in 2012:
Kapoor has been charged with 86 criminal counts by @manhattanDA ranging from Grand Larceny to Possession of Stolen Property and Conspiracy.— Chasing Aphrodite (@ChasingAphrodit) July 10, 2019
The charges come 7 years after federal agents raided his Manhattan gallery in July 2012: https://t.co/Y4mTcOSS24 pic.twitter.com/0brbfvf0ns
The individuals arrested include two British citizens. Neil Parry Smith, an antiquities restorer was alleged to have prepared looted objects. Also, Richard Salmon is alleged to have helped restored recently looted material in New York. The five other individuals were a part of the alleged looting network in India and are Sanjeeve Asokan, Dean Dayal, Ranjeet Kanwar (aka Shantoo), Aditya Prakash and Vallabh Prakash.
Kapoor is currently jailed in India where he has been awaiting trial under the Indian criminal code for nearly 8 years. But his alleged looting network is vast, including an alleged 2,600 antiquities from Afghanistan, Cambodia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Thailand. Helen Stoilas at the Art Newspaper compiled many of the images of still-missing objects provided by the Manhattan DA. Those objects are now presumed illicit, dealing a big blow to their future market.
For a terrific account of this looting network, you should seek out the work of S. Vijay Kumar:
- Tom Mashberg, Investigators Say a Ring Smuggled $145 Million in Ancient Artifacts, N.Y. Times, Jul. 11, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/10/arts/design/ancient-artifacts-smuggling-ring.html.
- Jim Mustian, Former Manhattan Art Dealer Charged in Smuggling Racket | Time, TIME (Jul. 11, 2019), https://time.com/5624186/manhattan-art-dealer-antiquities-smuggling-charged-subhash-kapoor/ [https://perma.cc/4DFP-DKMU].
- Helen Stoilas, Whereabouts Unknown: See the Antiquities US Authorities Are Still Trying to Track Down, The Art Newspaper, Jul. 11, 2019, https://www.theartnewspaper.com/gallery/whereabouts-unknown-see-the-antiquities-us-authorities-are-still-trying-to-track-down [https://perma.cc/G88E-SVT5].
- Helen Stoilas & Nancy Kenney, US Authorities File Criminal Charges against Antiquities Dealer Subhash Kapoor and Seven Others, The Art Newspaper, Jul. 11, 2019, https://www.theartnewspaper.com/news/us-authorities-file-criminal-charges-against-antiquities-dealer-subhash-kapoor-and-seven-others [https://perma.cc/HV3T-KHEG].