Thessaloniki court gives antiquities smugglers heavy sentence

An anonymous tip-off resulted in the capture of the antiquities smugglers

A Greek court in the Thessaloniki convicted to antiquities smugglers with heavy prison sentences following their trial for a case that was revealed in October 2011.

The two men were arrested just as they were preparing to sell ancient artifacts valued at 11.5 million euros. The artifacts in the collection were part of a large Macedonian treasure which they had hidden in the area of Gerakarou, near Thessaloniki. They were arrested in 2011 following an anonymous tip-off.

The treasures recovered by police included four helmets, golden masks and mouthpieces, a vase made of glass, clay and metallic vessels, clay figurines, rosettes and other golden objects, including part of a golden diadem with embossed decoration and fragments of an iron sword with decoration. The items have been transferred to the National Archaeological Museum where they were officially presented.

The defendents were sentenced to 20 and eight years respectively. The defendant with the shorter sentence was released conditionally, pending his appeal. One of the two smugglers also showed the police the two ancient tombs where they had stolen the treasures from.

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