“Restraining this valuable artwork is an effort to help recover some of the estimated $44 million that this couple stole from the tax-paying citizens of Naples,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement. “We are very pleased that our investigation has led to the recovery of this painting that is so significant to the Italian people. This is an example of the fine work of our HSI [Homeland Security Investigations] cultural repatriation special agents. We will continue our efforts to return stolen antiquities to their rightful owners.”
Customs seizes $11.5 million Picasso on behalf of Italy
The agency says HSI's specially trained investigators partner with governments, agencies and experts to protect cultural antiquities. Since 2007, according to the Justice Department, more than 7,150 artifacts have been returned to 26 countries, including paintings from France, Germany, Poland and Austria, 15th to 18th century manuscripts from Italy and Peru, as well as cultural artifacts from China, Cambodia and Iraq.
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