Michael Steinhardt evades prosecution and must return $70 million in looted antiquities

JTA – Michael Steinhardt, the hedge funder and megadonor of the Jewish causes, has agreed met 180 . over to give stolen antiquities worth $70 million to their rightful homeland and to never again collect ancient artifacts.

In return, Steinhardt, a philanthropist who is chair of the Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish life and co-founder of Birthright Israel, an organization that transmits young Jews on free travel to Israel, right? face criminal cost for acquire more than 1,000 pieces die have been illegally smuggled out of 11 countries including Egypt, Greece, Israel, Syria and Turkey, prosecutors said.

that are the terms of a deal die Steinhardt completed Monday with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, whose office started researching several years ago over a Lebanese statue that Steinhardt lent to the Metropolitan Museum of art. That statue, they concluded, had been illegally removed from Lebanon — making it like countless other objects die Steinhardt had collected over the years, mostly from the Middle East countries.

Steinhardt’s attorneys and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance issued separate statements Monday, CNBC reported. with very different takes on intention: Steinhardt said he had the items in good believe, but Vance didn’t believe it.

“For decades, Michael Steinhardt displayed a predatory appetite for looted artifacts without worries for the legality of his actions, the legitimacy of the pieces die he bought and sold, of the serious cultural damage die he over all over the world,” said Vance in a separate statement.

“His Chase” of ‘new’ Additions to display and sell knew no geographic of moral boundaries, as evidenced by in the vast underworld of antique dealers, crime bosses, money money launderers, and tomb raiders he relied on to expand his collection.”

Michael Steinhardt evades prosecution and must return  million in looted antiquities

Pictured (from left to right): The Larnax, a Death Mask and Stag’s Head Rhyton (Manhattan District Attorney’s Office)

Steinhardt’s lawyers portrayed their client as a well-meaning patsy.

“Mr. Steinhardt is pleased that the prosecutor’s long-standing investigation has concluded without charge, and that: items die wrongly taken by others, are returned to their native countries’ said Steinhardt’s lawyers. “A lot of of the dealers from whom Mr. Steinhardt bought it items made specific statements met regarding the legal property of the dealers on the items, and their alleged origin.”

Vance’s office conducted the research in cooperation with law enforcement from 11 countriesincluding Israel.

Some of the items were looted during the battle in countries including Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. Steinhardt borrowed some of them to museums.

According to the CNBC report, the deal between Steinhardt and Vance reveals that at least: one of the items that is being repatriated, a box for human remains from Crete, turned out to be looted when Steinhardt spotted met researchers die looked at another item. “See this piece?” he reportedly said. “There is no provenance” for the. If I see a piece and I like it, then me buy the.”

to go forward, Steinhardt is suspended for life of acquiring objects die were made before 1500 CE.

In 2019, Steinhardt, 80, who helped found Birthright Israel and supports a broad range of Jewish institutions, was accused of a pattern of making proposals and making sexually inappropriate comments women who have approached him as part of their work in Jewish philanthropy of the arts. Steinhardt denied the allegations, but acknowledged a pattern of remarks “die rude, disrespectful and just just stupid.”

Michael Steinhardt attends a meeting in the Knesset in Jerusalem on Apr 26, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Steinhardt, who turns 81 on On Tuesday, the hedge fund founded Steinhardt Partners in 1967 and closed it in 1995. He came out of pension in 2004 to head Wisdom tree investments.

New York University named her Steinhardt School of Culture, education and human development after Steinhardt in recognition of two $10 million donations.

The items surrendered by Steinhardt include a deer head in form of a ceremonial vessel for libations, dating to 400 BC, die prosecutors say appeared without origin on the international market after rampant looting in Milas, Turkey. The deer head is valued at $3.5 million, the prosecutor said.

There was also the chest for human remains from the greek island of Crete, called a larnax and dating to about 1300 BC prosecutors said was purchased from a well-known antiques dealer.

AP contributed to this report

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