Ancient Roman Sculpture of Reclining Half-Naked Woman to Be Seized From Queens Storage
Federal officials plan to seize an ancient Roman sculpture of a reclining half-naked woman from a Queens storage facility after Italian officials say the $4 million work was looted from Italy decades ago.
Authorities said in a complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court Thursday that the marble statue is believed to be one of the antiquities illegally obtained by Italian art dealer Gianfranco Becchina.
Becchina was convicted in 2011 of trafficking in plundered Roman artifacts.
Authorities say they don't know when the statue entered the U.S. It is believed to been the top of an 1,800-year-old sarcophagus of a Roman noblewoman, possibly looted in the 1970s or early '80s.
The New York Times says
authorities began tracking it last year after learning it had been exhibited for sale at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan by Phoenix Ancient Art.
A Phoenix lawyer says the gallery didn't own it and had exhibited it on behalf of a client.