Spanish police seize ancient jewelry worth $64m taken from Ukraine
Five people who were trying to sell the pieces in Spain have been arrested, police say.
Ancient gold jewelery, considered to be part of Ukraine’s national heritage, was confiscated by Spain’s national police [Policia Nacional/AP]Published On 23 Oct 202323 Oct 2023
Spanish police say they have seized gold jewelry and other precious artefacts that were removed from Ukraine illegally in 2016.
The 11 pieces dating from the Greco-Scythian period between the 8th and 4th centuries BC, include intricate necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
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The treasures were smuggled out of Ukraine after being briefly exhibited at a museum in Kyiv, Madrid National Police said on Monday in a statement.
Three Spaniards and two Ukrainians have been arrested in connection with the attempted sale of the artefacts, one of whom is an Orthodox priest.
Police said the treasures constitute a part of Ukraine’s national heritage.
Police have been on the trail of the thieves since 2021 when one of the pieces, an ornate belt, with rams’ heads, was confiscated during a private sale in Madrid.
The rest of the pieces, said to be worth 60 million euros ($64m), were seized over recent weeks as the thieves tried to sell them off in Madrid. According to the police, all the pieces had forged proprietary documents showing they belonged to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Spain’s National Archeological Museum and Cultural Heritage Institute are currently in possession of the artefacts.