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April 08, 2015

U.S. Museums Returning Indian Art Tied to Suspected Smuggler

Amid a major federal investigation of an alleged art smuggler, some American museums have begun handing over possibly stolen artifacts for return to India, reports The New York Times.

Last week, institutions in Hawaii and Massachusetts turned over eight items to U.S. officials that had been bought from a now-defunct business run by art dealer Subhash Kapoor. The Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio returned a $245,000 statue in October and is in talks with investigators about giving up scores more items tied to Mr. Kapoor, who is awaiting trial in India on charges of trafficking in $100 million worth of stolen objects.

Mr. Kapoor, who has pleaded not guilty in the India case, has been under U.S. investigation since 2012. Another 15 American museums have been identified as holding items obtained from the smuggling suspect, among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago.