The former president of the Louvre has been charged with alleged trafficking in antiquities during his tenure as head of the famous Parisian museum.
- Mr Martinez has been charged with ‘complicity in organized fraud’ and money laundering
- Two of his former colleagues from the Egyptian antiquities department were recently arrested and released this week
- French media report that the three men were suspected of having participated in the trafficking of Egyptian antiquities
Police in the French capital on Wednesday charged Jean-Luc Martinez with “complicity in organized fraud” and money laundering, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.
The prosecutor’s office said two of Mr. Martinez’s former colleagues in the Louvre’s Egyptian antiquities department were also taken into custody this week but released without charge.
The Paris prosecutor’s office did not confirm reports from the French media that the three men were suspected of having participated in the trafficking of priceless heritage pieces.
According to the newspaper Le Canard Enchaine, the investigators were trying to find out if Mr. Martinez was “turning a blind eye” to false certificates of provenance for five Egyptian antiquities.
The newspaper said the pieces, including a granite stele or slab of Tutankhamun, were sold in 2016 when Louvre Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of the Parisian museum, acquired several Egyptian antiquities for tens of millions of dollars. euros.
Mr Martinez resigned as president of the Louvre last year, a post he had held since 2013.
He is now an ambassador for international cooperation in the field of heritage. The current president of the museum is Laurence de Cars.