Bulgaria Recovers Over 4,000 Ancient Artifacts: A Triumph in Cultural Repatriation

Bulgaria has successfully reclaimed more than 4,000 ancient artifacts that were illegally exported from the country. The Main Directorate "Fighting Organized Crime" (GDBOP) orchestrated the return of these archaeological treasures, which had been trafficked and dispersed globally. Collaborative efforts involving Italy, Germany, Canada, and the USA contributed to this achievement.

Tigran Vardanyan of GDBOP revealed that various groups of treasure hunters were responsible for the illegal export, primarily routing the artifacts through Spain before sending them to the United States via public mail. Notably, a significant breakthrough in the five-year investigation led to the recovery of a valuable helmet, previously owned by an American billionaire who acquired it for $200,000. However, its true value, like many illegally sold cultural assets, far exceeded this amount.

Following extensive legal proceedings, the prosecutor's office in America seized over 180 items valued at $70 million from the billionaire. The artifacts, spanning different historical periods including Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and the 17th-18th centuries, will undergo cleaning and be exhibited in various museums across Bulgaria. The repatriated collection comprises Byzantine coins and Roman silver and copper coins, which were illegally sold at inflated prices on global trading platforms.

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