Attempts to smuggle archaeological treasures increased after the fall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Cairo court sentenced Raouf Ghali, the brother of a former minister, and three of his accomplices are on prison sentence for smuggling thousands of antiques from Egypt.
A traveling museum
The case dates back to 2017. That year, the Italian police got hold of a container filled with antiques: gold coins, miniature figurines, mummy masks, pottery, ceramics, wooden sarcophagus… A sort of small traveling museum aboard a boat from Alexandria. There were a total of more than 20,000 ancient objects belonging to Egypt.
The complicity of an Italian diplomat
The antiques were smuggled out by Raouf Ghali, brother of the former finance minister under the regime of Hosni Mubarak, as claimed by Egyptian justice. The latter has just sentenced the accused to 30 years in prison and a fine of one million Egyptian pounds (58,100 euros). He had three accomplices, two Egyptians and the former Italian honorary consul Ladislav Otakar Skakal. The diplomat was already sentenced to 15 years in prison in absentia last January.
In 2018 Egypt repatriated the stolen objects with the cooperation of the Italian authorities and asked Interpol to issue a red notice against the former Italian diplomat, who remains unaccounted for.