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Italy demands Getty Museum return looted antiquities

[JURIST] Italian Minister of Culture Francesco Rutelli has demanded that the Getty Museum [official website] in Los Angeles return all the allegedly-looted Italian antiquities it is said to possess, and not just the 26 pieces of a total of 46 that it has already undertaken to hand back [Getty press release]. Negotiations with the Getty over the looted objects broke down earlier this week. Rutelli said his department was investigating evidence concerning the provenance of "dozens" of other works held by the Getty, perhaps as many as 250, according to Italian authorities. Reuters has more.

Earlier this year the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art [official website] signed an agreement [JURIST report] with the Culture Ministry [official website] under which it undertook to return several pieces of looted Hellenistic art in exchange for Italy loaning it other works of "equal beauty and importance." A similar agreement [MIBAC press release, in Italian] was recently signed with the Boston Museum of Fine Art. Under a 1939 Italian law, all archaeological property excavated in Italy belongs to the Italian state. Marion True, former director of the J. Paul Getty Museum, is currently on trial [NPR report] on charges of knowingly smuggling Italian artifacts in violation of the 1939 law.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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