"Greek Police Bust Criminal Gang: Forged Artworks and Antiquities Operation Unveiled"

Police dismantle criminal ring selling forged artworks

The Greek police arrested four individuals believed to be members of a criminal gang selling forged artworks, Byzantine images, and small antiquities to buyers in the wider region of Attica and Europe.

The police were notified by someone who fell victim to the fraud, having bought a fake painting for 50,000 euros.

The four suspects were detained during a police operation early Monday morning, during which officers posed as potential buyers of four fake Picasso paintings and a forged Jackson Pollock for a sum of 4,400,000 euros.

The defendants are accused of forming a criminal organization, forgery, fraud, violating legislation for the protection of antiquities and cultural heritage, and accepting and disposing of crime products.

As revealed in the police investigation, the suspects established a criminal gang since at least December 2023. Each held specific roles in the ring with the purpose of selling fake paintings of various styles allegedly created by world-renowned painters, as well as small antiquities and icons, to prospective buyers.

In a raid of the suspects’ homes, police officers seized four fake Pollock paintings, three fake Rene Magritte, Henri Matisse, and Yannis Tsarouchis paintings, a number of ecclesiastical icons with various representations and dimensions, a variety of objects and works of art of significant historical and archaeological value (vessels, clay figurines, metal objects, etc.), 118 paintings, 25 photos depicting works of art or signatures of well-known artists on works of art, a digital camera, laptops, and 20,900 euros in cash.

One of those arrested, described by police as the ringleader, has a gallery in the upscale district of Kolonaki and had been negotiating online for the sale of a fake Kandinsky painting for three million euros.

The confiscated paintings were shown to an expert at the National Gallery who verified the forgery, while the confiscated antiquities were shown to archaeologists and Byzantine experts who opined that the majority of them fall within the protective provisions of the law for the protection of antiquities and cultural heritage in general.

Copyright Greekcitytimes 2024