According to the French newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné, Martinez ignored documents that tampered with the origins of some Egyptian relics sold to Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2016 for $ 8.5 million.
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Among the artifacts in question is a pink granite stele with the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun seal. The tall stone slab contains a decree guaranteeing the protection of the high priest by Tutankhamen, dating back to 1327 BC.
Martinez ran the Louvre Museum from 2013 to last year. He is currently the ambassador of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs for international cooperation on cultural heritage, including working to prevent trafficking in art.
French authorities, who filed a proceeding in 2018, have detained two experts with Martinez. Both were released for free, according to French law enforcement officials.
In March, French authorities arrested Roben Dib, the gallery owner in Lebanon, Germany, who brokered the transaction in question. Dive is suspected in several other cases, including the sale of a stolen ancient Egyptian stele to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The city later returned the stele to Egypt.
French investigators suspect that hundreds of relics were stolen from Egypt and throughout the Middle East during the 2011 Arab spring turmoil.
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Louvre Abu Dhabi did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the Louvre Museum in Paris declined to comment.
The two museums share a name, but they are separate institutions.
The French state owns the Louvre Museum in Paris, the most visited museum in the world. Louvre Abu Dhabi is owned by the United Arab Emirates, which opened the museum in 2017 in partnership with France.
The agreement included the UAE leasing the name of the Louvre from France for 30 years at a cost of approximately $ 500 million.
Louvre Abu Dhabi told the BBC that he could not comment on the ongoing investigation.
“Louvre Abu Dhabi applies strict international protocols to the artwork entering the collection, as outlined in the intergovernmental agreement between Abu Dhabi and France signed in 2007,” the museum told the BBC in a statement. Told. “This protocol strictly adheres to the 1970 UNESCO Convention. [against the illicit trafficking of cultural artifacts] And it follows the strictest standards of the world’s major museums. “
Rick Noac of Paris contributed to this report.