The Manhattan District Attorney’s office announced the return of 192 antiquities valued at nearly $3.4 million to Pakistan on Thursday.
The majority of the items, 187 of them, were seized as part of an investigation into former Manhattan art dealer Subhash Kapoor. The dealer was sentenced to 10 years in prison by an Indian court for burglarly and illegal export of idols earlier this month.
“Subhash Kapoor was one of the world’s most prolific antiquities traffickers, yet thanks to the work of our dedicated investigators and analysts, we have been able to recover thousands of pieces looted by his network,” District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg said in a statement.
“We will continue to pursue full accountability against Mr. Kapoor and his co-conspirators, who showed a blatant disregard for the cultural and historic significant of these antiquities,”
After smuggling the items into Manhattan, Kapoor and his accomplices often sold the pieces through the art dealer’s gallery, Art of the Past.
Between 2011 and 2022, the DA’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations have recovered more than 2,500 items illegally acquired and sold by Kapoor and his network, the DA’s office said, estimating the total value of the recovered items at more than $143 million.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office first issued an arrest warrant for Kapoor a decade ago. In late 2019, the office then indicted Kapoor and seven co-defendants for conspiracy to traffic stolen artworks. Bragg’s office is continuing to pursue prosecution in the United States and has filed extradition papers for his return to the US.
Last month, a spokesperson for HSI told ARTnews that “it is anticipated that [Kapoor] will be extradited to the United States upon his release from prison in India.”
The items were returned during a repatriation ceremony at the Pakistan Consulate.