POLICE RAID ARTIFACT FORGERY RINGFeb. 22, 2012
Recent police raids on a massive Greek and Etruscan artifact theft and forgery ring have led to seven arrests and the recovery of thousands of ancient objects. The Art Newspaper reports that the group of Italian con artists was led by no less a light than Edoardo David, an archaeologist who consulted for Italy’s ministry of culture.
The fraud became apparent after antiques collector Marquis Roberto Bilotti Ruggi had spent €600,000 buying items now believed to be fakes, and also lost €1 million worth of his own authentic works in trades with the group. Ruggi grew suspicious as he came to recognize the magnitude of the stash, and he finally called the police after being assaulted and robbed of a vase that he’d refused to exchange with the group.
The raid of David’s property revealed 2,000 authentic artifacts, many identified as stolen, while another raid at ceramics expert Massimo Bordo’s uncovered 3,000 items thought to be forged. Officials believe Bordo sculpted the objects himself by combining genuine antique material with modern components.
Others arrested include antiques dealer Enrico Corradi, Massimiliano Congiu and a nurse, Enrico Diomedi, who is said to have given the forgers access to a hospital x-ray machine, the radiation from which can cause inconclusive authenticity tests of ceramics.