Ancient Greek vases identified as having once been in possession of convicted dealer Gianfranco Becchina

In January 2015, the art squad of the Italian carabinieri hosted a press conference in Rome at which it proudly displayed more than 5,000 illicit antiquities, with an estimated value of €50m, it had repatriated to Italy from a Switzerland-based Sicilian dealer named Gianfranco Becchina. He had been linked to widespread looting networks and his eventual conviction was deemed a victory in the battle against illegal trafficking of cultural property.

The row over Becchina’s former stock has now reignited after two vases that were once in his possession went on sale at the prestigious Frieze Masters art fair in Regent’s Park, London. They were on the stand of a Basel-based dealer named Jean-David Cahn – price “upon request”, but upwards of £100,000 apiece.

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