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American billionaire agrees to return $70 million worth of stolen antiquities

Reuters

Billionaire Michael Steinhart has agreed to hand over $70 million in stolen antiquities and be punished for life.

Cyrus Vance Jr., the attorney general in Manhattan, New York, said that the millionaire who heads the Steinhart Foundation for Jewish Life and is co-founder of Birthright Israel, an organization that sends young Jews on free trips to Israel, “will not face criminal charges for obtaining antiquities in return.” illegally smuggled from eleven countries, including Egypt, Greece, Israel and Turkey.

He added, “For decades, Michael Steinhart displayed a greedy appetite for looted artifacts without regard for the legality of his actions, the legality (of possession) of the pieces he bought and sold, or the grave cultural damage he has done around the world… His quest for new collectibles to display and sell He knew no geographic or moral boundaries, as reflected in the sprawling underworld of antiquities smugglers, gang leaders, money launderers and grave robbers on whom he relied to expand his group.

Steinhart, who turns 81 on Tuesday, founded the hedge fund Steinhart Partners in 1967, closed it in 1995, and came out of retirement in 2004 to head Wisdom Tree Investments.

New York University named the Steinhart School for Culture, Education, and Human Development in recognition of his $10 million donation.

Manhattan prosecutors began investigating Steinhardt’s collection of artifacts in 2017 and raided his Manhattan office and home in 2018, seizing several artworks and antiquities that investigators said were stolen.

Source: AP

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