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Former Louvre head accused of marketing antiquities, cash laundering

PARIS, France: Jean-Luc Martinez, former president of the Louvre museum in Paris, has been charged with selling antiquities.

According to the Paris prosecutors’ office, the Paris police charged Martinez with “complicity in organized fraud” and money laundering during his tenure as the museum’s head.

Two of Martinez’ former colleagues in the Louvre’s Egyptian antiquities department were also taken into custody this week, but later released without charges, the office added, without confirming French media reports that the three men were suspected of taking part in the selling of priceless heritage pieces.

Le Canard Enchaine newspaper reported that investigators were looking into whether Martinez “turned a blind eye” to false certificates of provenance for five Egyptian antiquities.

The pieces included a granite Tutankhamun slab sold in 2016 when the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, a branch of the Paris museum, acquired several Egyptian antiquities for tens of millions of euros, the newspaper added.

Last year, Martinez, who now serves as an ambassador for international cooperation in the field of heritage, stepped down as the Louvre’s president, a post he had held since 2013.

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