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19 June, 2024
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Stolen antiquities case takes bizarre turn

Department says antiquities were fake following five arrests and summer long investigation


Paphos police arrested another local resident in connection with a case in illicit trade in antiquities, with officials on the case saying it turned out to be an elaborate scheme with fake ancient artefacts.

According to police, a 44-year-old Paphos resident was arrested on Thursday following a complaint regarding fake archaeological artefacts from an ancient period.

Man arrested in July says he was tricked

The case dates back to July when another Paphos resident, aged 38, was arrested following the discovery of five ancient amphorae and two jugs and even a stun gun at a local residence.

But the man later told police he was tricked into buying what he thought were ancient vessels dated 300-400 BC, worth close to 60 grand.

After the 38-year-old paid the suspect €59,800 cash in July, according to an official police report, a private antiquities expert examined five of the objects and determined they were dated, at best, less than 100 years old.

Phedonos has been at odds with the Antiquities department following allegations he made that staff were stealing and selling artefacts from museum storage

According to a police report, officials from the Antiquities Department examined all the artefacts in the case and declared them all fake. The local police station in Peyia, Paphos district, has taken over the investigation. Three other suspects aged 44, 36, and 48 were previously detained in early October. 

Illicit trade in antiquities has been going on for decades in Cyprus, in both northern and southern parts of the island, but authorities were forced to step up their game recently, following public statements by Paphos mayor Phedonas Phedonos, a known whistleblower against corruption.

Phedonos shocked the public when he revealed he had information that state and government officials were involved or had privileged information of illegal activities. He has also been at odds with the Antiquities department following allegations he made that staff were aware of theft and even stealing and selling artefacts themselves from museum storage basements.

Cyprus  |  Paphos  |  Peyia  |  antiquities  |  stolen  |  ancient  |  Phedonos

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