PARIS — The former president of the Louvre museum has been charged with alleged trafficking in antiquities during his tenure at the head of the famous Parisian museum.
Police in the French capital on Wednesday charged Jean-Luc Martinez with “complicity in organized fraud” and money laundering, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.
The prosecutor’s office said two of Martinez’s former colleagues in the Louvre’s Egyptian antiquities department were also arrested this week but released without charge.
The Paris prosecutor’s office did not confirm reports from the French media that the three men were suspected of having participated in the trafficking of priceless heritage pieces.
According to Le Canard Enchaine newspaper, investigators were looking into whether Martinez was “turning a blind eye” to fake certificates of provenance for five Egyptian antiquities.
The newspaper said the pieces, including a granite stele or slab of Tutankhamun, were sold in 2016 when Louvre Abu Dhabi, a subsidiary of the Parisian museum, acquired several Egyptian antiquities for tens of millions of dollars. euros (dollars).
Martinez resigned last year from the presidency of the Louvre, a post he had held since 2013. He is now an ambassador for international cooperation in the field of heritage. The current president of the museum is Laurence de Cars.