Friday, January 25, 2008

Authorities Raid California Museums

By GREG RISLING – 21 hours ago
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Federal agents raided several Southern California museums on Thursday in search of Southeast Asian antiquities believed to have been illegally obtained, smuggled into the U.S. and donated so collectors could claim fraudulent tax deductions.
Agents also investigated American Indian artifacts at one museum.
Search warrants were executed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena and the Mingei International Museum in San Diego, said Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Authorities said no arrests had been made and no charges had been filed.
Court documents portray a five-year scheme in which the owner of a Los Angeles art gallery worked with a smuggler to bring in artifacts from Thailand and China, offered them as charitable contributions and then tried to claim the donations as tax write-offs by boosting their value. In some cases, museum officials initially questioned how the artifacts were obtained but eventually accepted them, according to affidavits filed in support of the search.
The investigation is the latest public relations debacle for museums in the United States that have been accused by foreign governments of housing treasures stolen from their countries. Italy has been negotiating with various museums, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, to have various statues, vases and other items from Roman and Greek times returned.....


Margot said...

Gosh, what an interesting article. I didn't know anything about all this. Is it a widely followed case in the US because I really think that Europe's inhabitants are unaware of this...

To answer your question : I know live in a small village near Perpignan.
How come you were about to move to the South of France and how come you didn't?
Maybe I'm being indiscrete, I don't know...
Again, thanks for the comment on my blog ;-)

Eve Wickman said...

Bonjour Margot!
I posted that article right after the news broke, but it's been on the news all weekend. The Arts are low in importance right now with the election taking consuming everyone's thoughts.
I was planning to move to the South of France with my Fiance who is Frence-Canadian, but then we broke up so plans changed. I would still love to move there someday, but I'll have to figuure out a new plan. It is so beautiful, warm, and peaceful. I'm an aratist, so the light is also very attractive to me. Again, I love your blog and I love your adorable little rabbits! I'll post some picture of the cat I rescued soon (Oscar).
Best Wishes,

Margot said...

Oh, I'd love to see your Oscar!
I'm sorry about the break up...
Of course you can still move. What I like about here (I used to live in Belgium) is the rhythm. Everything is quiet, "tranquille" as they say in French and that changes your life completely. It's true that people tend to be a little lazy around here, and that can get extremely annoying but the sea, the mountains (in the same region!), it's just stunning how beautiful this area is. Seven years that I've lived here and I still wake up completely amazed at the beauty around me.
If you want to meet the rest of my furry family :

eve said...

Margot, I love your website! It makes my day so happy to see those adorable little bunny faces! Being that I don't read or speak french that well, what is the purpose of your website?
Your description of the South of France makes me want to move there tomorrow! That is exactly the kind of lifestyle that I have been craving and dreaming about. Are the Mistral as miserable as everyone says? I need to figure out how to get a visa....
Yes, I'll have to post some picture of my two oragne boys; the older one is Guiseppe, and the younger one that I recued is Oscar and they are inseperable and love each other SO much!

Margot said...

Well, the website was started by two bunny lovers who thought rabbits could need a little help getting known a little more. People like rabbits but they know so little about them that a lot of them end up abandonned or dead, sadly.
A forum was created with the website to enable users to ask questions. I became a moderator after a year, that was four years ago now.
The purpose of the website + forum is to having information circulate about rabbits, the care they need, the things to do and those to avoid, and of course, enable happy house rabbit owners to talk about their bunnies as much as they want to because we are often seen as a little weird by our relatives.
Rabbit care is highly interesting but really complicated, things can go wrong so quickly when you don't know just a tiny thing about rabbits...
My French Lop has a lot of medical problems lately. She broke her left hing leg and in spite of an operation to try and fix it, the hing leg had to been put off. On top of that she developped a very serious infection with skin abcesses in the area of the amputation. She's on penicillin now, and I really hope that she'll be okay.
Had I not had the forum and all the people I know there and who helped me through the bad times, I think I would have given up or at least lost faith because most of my family don't understand why I put so much time and effort in what is 'just' a rabbit for them.

In the region of Perpignan, where I live it's the Tramontane blowing, and not the Mistral (that's more in the area of Marseille). It's bad but bearable. You just have to start a collection of nice hats and good coats to avoid freezing because of the wind. But honestly it's not that bad. I like walking on a beach with a strong cold wind.