Law enforcement has arrested 60 people and recovered 11,049 stolen artefacts as part of a major international art trafficking crackdown across 14 INTERPOL member countries.
Codenamed Pandora VII, this operation was led by Spain (Guardia Civil), with the support of Europol and INTERPOL.
This iteration of the annual Pandora operation consisted of an operational phase which ran between 13 to 24 September 2022 and saw thousands of checks carried out at various airports, ports and border crossing points, as well as in auction houses, museums and private houses.
Two cyber patrol weeks were organized in the course of Pandora VII, in May and October 2022 respectively, with over 8,495 checks being conducted online and 4,017 stolen goods seized.
Some 130 investigations are still ongoing, as a result of which more seizures and arrests are anticipated as investigators around the globe go after those spoiling and destroying cultural heritage.
Pandora VII led to the recovery of the following stolen artefacts, among others:
The following countries took part in Pandora VII: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden.
INTERPOL, through its I-24/7 secure communication system, connected countries in the Balkans and the European Union participating in the exchange of information, supporting the entire operation with a dedicated expert to double check searches against INTERPOL’s Stolen Works of Art Database in order to locate and identify items that had been stolen and items that were still missing. Officers on the ground also made use of ID-Art, INTERPOL’s mobile app.
Europol played a key role in implementing the entire operation by facilitating information exchange and providing analytical and operational support.
Operation Pandora, which was first launched in 2016, is an annual law enforcement operation. It is carried out in the framework of the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT).
Images : Pandora VII seizures in Spain and Greece
ArtDependence Magazine is an international magazine covering all spheres of contemporary art, as well as modern and classical art.
ArtDependence features the latest art news, highlighting interviews with today’s most influential artists, galleries, curators, collectors, fair directors and individuals at the axis of the arts.
The magazine also covers series of articles and reviews on critical art events, new publications and other foremost happenings in the art world.
If you would like to submit events or editorial content to ArtDependence Magazine, please feel free to reach the magazine via the contact page.