A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
For the attention of Mr. Andrew SLAYMAN
Some of my friends told me about an article which appeared in the journal Archeology. This article has appeared in full on Internet.
Thank you very much. This article makes it possible, for the first time in 3 years to defend myself against accusations completely without foundation.
None of those accusing me gave me any possibility to defend myself. On 13 September 1995, I was subjected to a search at the Geneva free port. I cannot deny that it was violent and rough!!
I have the right to claim that the norms guaranteeing a standard search procedure were not observed at that stage. Indeed, operations took place without a representative of the company being present, or even myself. No INVENTORY either of objects or of documents showing the lawful source of the objects was made.
These documents not having been "FOUND", the objects were nonetheless photographed. This photo "ALBUM" was to "REPLACE" the inventory. But the photographs do not represent "IN FULL" the objects which were inside the premises! What does this fact mean? Why were some objects not photographed? Do I have the right, at present, to know if these objects were inside the premises? When I say that I was not given any possibility to defend myself, I want to point out that my presence or that of a lawyer representing the company would have avoided stating that during the search no document dealing with the lawful origin of the objects was found! These documents were there and I cannot be accused, at present, of any manipulation if the police did not see them and did not find them.
It is not necessary, at this point, to go any further. The documents in my possession which should have demonstrated the lawful origin of all the objects were not found: therefore, the whole procedural argument has been completely distorted.
I do not wish to accuse anyone; it is not up to me to make sure that all the rights of a citizen "under investigation" have been respected; I only with to bring to public opinion the knowledge that the facts brought out at the Geneva free port were not those reported in the newspapers and on television throughout the world.
The "monster" who should have exported 10,000 items illegally does not exist; "Ali Baba's cave" does not exist; it is not true what Peter Watson states that Sotheby's of London accepted in full knowledge and for sale illicit objects coming from Italy.
The contrary is true! Sotheby's knew, because they had viewed them before, that all the objects came lawfully from old Swiss and European collections.
Presently, after nearly 3 years, 68 photographs taken inside the premises of the free port which reproduce the sequestered objects appear on Internet. How can such an action be justified?
We are still in the INVESTIGATIVE phase. Why can reserved documents, covered by secret of investigation be shown on Internet? Is all this normal?
From an examination of the photographs, it can easily be deducted [sic] that many of the objects are not of Italic origin; it can be scientifically demonstrated that most of these objects could not have been found in Italian archeological sites! Why then does one continue to claim and repeat that these are of Italian origin? Many objects still carry labels attesting to their origin, why don't the archeologists point out this very important fact?
I bought the objects from the same sources where the most important museums in the world and private collectors buy. The objects which are still sequestered in the Geneva free port come from LAWFUL sources, from important collections and were bought for an equitable price. None were received. Many persons can testify that they saw me in the world's main auction houses, while I bought at competitive prices the objects now sequestered in the Geneva free port.
The idea is to impress public opinion by announcing that the seizure was of 10,000 items. This is not true! How could this number be reached if no inventory were made? The declared value is 35 million dollars; who would buy these objects even at half of that price?
Besides the number of perhaps 200/300 items, no one in America among museums and private collectors would be willing to buy most of the sequestered items at the Geneva free port, in particular at present when this defamatory campaign has been carried out against me. To then say nothing about my health. [sic]
I hope, one day, not too far away, that everything will be cleared up and that all the items presently taken away from me will be recognised and returned to me.
Please, in case my present letter is accepted, publish it IN FULL.
I am completely at your disposal to explain any point that you have not yet understood.
Being sure that an event similar to mine would have never happened in America, I reserve my rights to take action for damages against any author of violations of the law, no one excluded; please accept my most grateful thanks.