Art Theft Ring Uncovered in Albania

More than 1,000 works of art have been seized by authorities in Albania after the discovery of an art-trafficking operation. Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama was quoted by the BBC:

Welcoming the police operation, Mr Rama said the artwork had “risked joining the long list of works that have crossed the country’s borders”.

He said it was one of the largest operations against art trafficking, but that it marked just the beginning of a campaign in which he appealed to Albanians to “redress this lamentable plight of our heritage”.

Experts say that Albania’s Orthodox churches have been plundered of much of their art work since the fall of communism, and that the trafficking of stolen art is widespread.

“[Albanian society] has forgotten that this might be our temporary house, but it remains the perennial abode of generations to come and we owe it to them to pass on the country we inherited from our ancestors,” the prime minister said.

“Albanian Police Seize Stolen Art.” BBC, October 9, 2013, sec. Europe.