Martinez allegedly ignored paperwork falsifying the origins of a number of Egyptian antiquities offered for $8.5 million in 2016 to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, in response to the French newspaper Canard Enchaine, who broke the story.
Among the many artifacts in query is a pink granite stele bearing the seal of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen. The tall stone slab features a decree by Tutankhamen guaranteeing the safety of a excessive priest and dates again to 1327 BCE.
Martinez ran the Paris Louvre from 2013 till final yr. He now serves because the French international ministry’s ambassador accountable for worldwide cooperation on cultural heritage, a task that features working to forestall artwork trafficking.
French authorities, who opened the case in 2018, detained two specialists together with Martinez. Each have been launched with out costs, the French judicial official stated.
In March, French officers arrested German-Lebanese gallery proprietor Roben Dib, who brokered the offers in query. Dib is a suspect in a number of different instances, together with the sale of a stolen historic Egyptian stele to the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork in New York. Town later returned the stele to Egypt.
French investigators suspect a whole lot of artifacts have been stolen from Egypt and across the Center East in the course of the upheaval of the 2011 Arab Spring.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi didn’t responded instantly to requests for remark. A spokesperson for the Louvre in Paris declined to remark.
The 2 museums share a reputation however are separate establishments.
The French state owns the Louvre in Paris, which is the world’s most visited museum. The Louvre Abu Dhabi is owned by the United Arab Emirates, who opened the museum in 2017, beneath a partnership with France.
The deal included the UAE leasing the Louvre identify from France for 30 years at a price of some $500 million.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi informed the BBC it couldn’t touch upon the continuing investigation.
“Louvre Abu Dhabi applies a strict worldwide protocol for artworks coming into the gathering, as outlined within the intergovernmental settlement between Abu Dhabi and France, signed in 2007,” the museum informed the BBC in a press release. “This protocol is strictly aligned with the 1970 UNESCO Conference [against the illicit trafficking of cultural artifacts] and follows essentially the most stringent requirements of main museums on the planet.”
Rick Noack contributed reporting from Paris.