Billionaire Steinhardt surrenders $70 mln of antiquities, accepts accumulating ban -Manhattan DA

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Michael Steinhardt, legendary hedge fund supervisor, speaks on the Reuters Investment Summit in New York December 8, 2008. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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NEW YORK, Dec 6 (Reuters) – U.S. hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist Michael Steinhardt has surrendered $70 million of stolen antiquities and accepted a first-of-its-kind lifetime ban on buying antiquities to resolve a prison probe, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance mentioned on Monday.

Vance mentioned his probe, begun in February 2017, discovered “compelling evidence” that the 180 antiquities had been stolen from 11 nations, with no less than 171 passing by traffickers earlier than Steinhardt’s purchases.

“For decades, Michael Steinhardt displayed a rapacious appetite for plundered artifacts without concern for the legality of his actions, the legitimacy of the pieces he bought and sold, or the grievous cultural damage he wrought across the globe,” Vance mentioned in a press release.

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Steinhardt denied prison wrongdoing in resolving the matter, which ended a grand jury investigation into him.

His attorneys Andrew Levander and Theodore Wells in a joint assertion mentioned Steinhardt was happy that the investigation has ended, and “items wrongfully taken by others will be returned to their native countries.” They additionally mentioned Steinhardt could search compensation from sellers who misled him.

Steinhardt, who turns 81 on Tuesday, constructed his wealth operating the hedge fund Steinhardt Partners, which he closed in 1995 to concentrate on Jewish philanthropic points. He is value $1.2 billion, based on Forbes journal.

Vance mentioned the antiquities will likely be returned to their rightful house owners in Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Syria and Turkey. Law enforcement in these nations assisted within the probe.

According to a 142-page assertion of details, 138 of the antiquities got here from Greece, Israel or Italy, with Steinhardt as soon as acknowledging {that a} majority of things he purchased from one supplier “did not have provenance.”

Among the antiquities was a 4th century B.C. wrought stag’s head value $3.5 million that Steinhardt loaned in 1993 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The stag’s head had been “Found in Western Turkey,” based on undated handwritten notes in Steinhardt’s data.

“Information from a seller identifying the find spot of an unprovenanced antiquity is often an indication that it has been looted,” the assertion of details mentioned.

Vance shaped an antiquities trafficking bureau in December 2017. He leaves workplace after 12 years on the finish of the month.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Mark Porter and Marguerita Choy

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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Jonathan Stempel

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