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Antiquity dealer's conviction stands

July 16, 2009|Associated Press

An appeals court in Rome on Wednesday upheld the antiquities trafficking conviction of an Italian art dealer whose case led Italy to launch a global search for looted ancient artifacts.

Giacomo Medici was convicted of conspiracy to traffic in antiquities in 2004 and sentenced to a 10-year prison term. The appeals court in Rome upheld his conviction but reduced his sentence to eight years.

Medici, who denies any wrongdoing, said after the closed-doors hearing that he would appeal the ruling to Italy's highest court. He remains free pending the appeal.

In a 1995 raid on Medici's offices in Switzerland, police found a trove of artifacts and photos of antiquities, many still in pieces and covered with mud, which authorities later traced to museums and collectors worldwide.

Rome's campaign to recover the looted art has pushed top museums, including the J. Paul Getty in Los Angeles and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to return dozens of pieces in exchange for long-term loans of other treasures.

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