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July 29, 2012

Indian American artefact dealer made $11m selling smuggled antiques

     Washington: Indian American antique smuggler Subash Kapoor has claimed that he made more than 11 million dollars by selling statues and other items, looted from India's temples through his Upper East Side business in the past decade. "From what Kapoor told us, he earned more than [$11 million] by selling ancient idols stolen from temples in Tamil Nadu [state]," the New York Post quoted a Tamil Nadu inspector, as saying. Kapoor, 63, owner of Art of the Past gallery on Madison Avenue, is currently in the custody of Tamil Nadu police officials on the account of idol-trafficking charges. One of the stolen items, a 900-year-old statute of "Shiva as Lord of the Dance" valued at 2 million dollars, is on display in the National Gallery of Australia, which the authorities are reportedly trying to recover it along with those at other museums, the report said. The Upper West Side resident also faces charges of possession of stolen property in Manhattan for which he could face upto 25 years in prison. According to a source, federal customs agents seized 20 million dollars worth of Indian temple statues from four Manhattan storage units leased by Kapoor. For the past decade or so, Kapoor allegedly accepted shipment of stolen antiquities packed among knockoffs, the source added.
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