In Belgium, antiquities trafficking is on the rise and the authorities are hunting down fraudsters

In Belgium, antiquities trafficking is on the rise and the authorities are hunting down fraudsters

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France 2

Article written by

J. Gasparutto, F. Caër, F. Furnémont, M. Lavaud, M. Wegnez – France 2

France Televisions

It is impossible to quantify the worldwide traffic in antiquities, but it is estimated at several hundred million euros. How isdoes he organize ? Report in Brussels, Belgium, in one of the largest contemporary art fairs in the world. Stolen works are tracked down there.

The Brafa from Brussels (Belgium) is one of the largest art fairs in Europe. Thousands of works, and sellers now forced to show their credentials. On his stand, Tobias Desmegallery owner, sells several antiques, including some from the Middle East. To prove that they are not from recent looting, he pulls out a binder with certificates validated by the police, and proof that the objects have been in Europe for a long time.

Exhibitors are checked by independent experts before the start of the fair. Any non-certified object is withdrawn from sale: there are dozens of them every year. The director of the Brafa went even further, excluding several gallery owners. The fair wants to be intransigent, because Belgium has a bad reputation. The Marolles district is known for its antique shops and business. Last fall, two statuettes were returned to theEgypt. They had been stolen in 2015 from the Bizet site, and were found in a Belgian gallery.

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