NY billionaire philanthropist under investigation for antiquities theft

New York Jewish philanthropist Michael Steinhardt is being investigated over suspected antiquities theft.

By: Margot Dudkevitch

The New York home and office of billionaire philanthropist Michael Steinhardt was searched by authorities and several articles were removed for investigation as part of an ongoing crackdown to repatriate looted antiquities, the New York Times said.

The raid reportedly took place on Friday, and several ancient works described as having been looted from Greece and Italy were removed.

According to the report, Steinhardt has been collecting art from ancient Greece for over three decades and has ties to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where one of the galleries is named for him.

The seizure of some nine artifacts from his Manhattan home is part of the latest action initiated by Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., whose aim is to repatriate looted antiques discovered in the “Big Apple” to their countries of origin.

While the 77-year-old Steinhardt refused to comment on the raid, Vance’s office neither denied nor confirmed the seizure, but did concede that searches took place.

Steinhardt, a co-founder of the Birthright program that funds 10-day trips to Israel for young Jews from the Diaspora, was one of two non-Israelis to light a torch during Israel’s Independence Day ceremonies last year.

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