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Egypt demands return of King Tut artifact amid former Louvre director scandal

Former Louvre Director Jean-Luc Martinez was accused of conspiring to conceal the origin of artifacts suspected of having been stolen from Egypt during the Arab Spring in 2011, prompting Egyptian demands to return these valuable pieces to Egypt.
Visitors looks at a sphinx sculpture at the Egyptian department of the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, June 24, 2021.

The French weekly newspaper Le Canard enchaine reported in an article published May 25 that French investigators are currently trying to find out whether or not former Louvre Director Jean-Luc Martinez “turned a blind eye” to forged certificates of five pieces of Egyptian antiquity. Reportedly, those pieces included a granite stele (slab) engraved with the seal of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun that was bought by Louvre Abu Dhabi for tens of millions of euros.

In 2018, the Paris prosecutor-general opened a confidential investigation into the case, entrusted to the Central Office for the Fight Against Illegal Trafficking in Cultural Goods. Before the case was assigned to an investigative judge in February 2020, at least three people were charged with being involved in the case, namely well-known French antiquities broker Christophe Kunicki and his husband Richard Semper, as well as Roben Dib, the German-Lebanese owner of an art gallery.

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