Interpol, WCO and Europol global operation against illicit trafficking of cultural goods

Interpol has recently informed on a Global operation against illicit trafficking of cultural goods (named “Athena”) coordinated in close cooperation with the World Customs Organization (WCO) and with a Europe-focused dimension (called “Pandora II”) coordinated by Europol and the Spanish Guardia Civil.

The operations, which ran from October to December 2017, included thens of thousands of checks out at airports and border crossing points across 81 countries. Auction houses, museums and private houses around the world were searched, in an operation voering on-line illicit markets too. The Interpol database of Stolen Works and the Europol´s Siena Exchange Tool were crucial tools for both customs and police authorities involved.

As result, more than 41.000 cultural objects have been seized, including Roman coins, Greek vases, pieces of ivory, ancient weapons, marble heads and other archaeological pieces, paintings and ancient musical instruments.