A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
On February 12, jurors in federal district court in Lower Manhattan convicted Schultz, 47, of conspiring to smuggle and possess looted ancient Egyptian artifacts. His conviction highlighted the differences between advocates for the antiquities trade and supporters of cultural protection. If upheld, it will likely bolster the application of foreign antiquities laws on American soil in favor of protection. "This sends the message to those who will deal in the international traffic of cultural property stolen from Egypt and other countries that they will be prosecuted under the law of the United States," says Lawrence Kaye, who represented the Egyptian officials testifying at trial. (Click here for details on the trial.)
The Egyptian government, encouraged by this and other successful efforts to repatriate looted and smuggled objects, is taking even more steps to police antiquities dealing and collecting. Zahi Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities in Egypt, reports that the Council is forming a Department of Returning Stolen Artifacts to investigate the antiquities in catalogues, museums, and private collections.
"If the investigation reveals that any museum or institution purchased stolen artifacts, we will completely sever all ties with the institution," he says. "At the same time, we are hopeful that people will give us their full cooperation and support to preserve the Egyptian heritage."
Schultz's trial was the last of five related to a prolific British smuggler of Egyptian goods named Jonathan Foreman. A former cavalryman with a Cambridge degree in moral sciences, Foreman envisioned himself as James Bond. He changed his name to the less pedestrian "Jonathan Tokeley-Parry" and sometimes signed his correspondences with a "003" or "006 1/2."
Tokeley-Parry retrieved more than 2,000 ancient artifacts from Egypt during the 1990s through subterfuge, intimidation, and a web of international conspirators. According to testimony, Schultz sent large payments for antiquities to Tokeley-Parry, who smuggled them into Switzerland disguised as cheap souvenirs.
Yet it was also the smuggler who testified extensively against Schultz in New York, asserting that the American dealer was even involved in faking old labels for the looted antiquities out of paper daubed with tea and baked in an oven. Schultz now faces five years in prison and fines of $250,000, or twice his ill-gotten gains, at a sentencing on June 11. His lawyers, who have appealed the conviction, could not be reached for comment. If the conviction is upheld, then Tokeley-Parry and his accomplices will have received a total of 12 convictions and sentenced to over 100 years of jail time across three continents.
In the New York trial, presiding Judge Jed Rakoff accepted the position of the prosecution, headed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia R. Isaacson, that the National Stolen Property Act was applicable to Schultz's case. He defined the dealer's acquisitions, including a $1.2 million statue of the pharaoh Amenhotep III, as stolen because they had been removed from Egypt in violation of a 1983 law that declared all newly discovered artifacts national property. Witnesses testified that Tokeley-Parry had bought the sculpture of Amenhotep from looters while it still trailed dirt from where it was dug up. "Every pharaoh it seems has a price on his head, at least if that head is cast in stone," quipped Judge Rakoff. [Next Page]