Interpol issues notice for Lebanese man suspected of trafficking in looted antiquities

  • Date: 17-Jun-2023
  • Source: Naharnet
  • Sector:Tourism
  • Country:Lebanon
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Interpol issues notice for Lebanese man suspected of trafficking in looted antiquities

Interpol has issued an international warrant for a Lebanese man suspected of trafficking stolen antiquities, weeks after he was questioned in Lebanon, judicial officials said.

The Red Notice was unsealed 10 months after a criminal court in New York issued an arrest warrant for Georges Lotfi, 82, charging him with criminal possession of stolen property as well as possessing looted artifacts.

The officials did not give further details about the Interpol warrant, which is a non-binding request to law enforcement agencies worldwide that they locate and provisionally arrest a fugitive. The notice is not an arrest warrant and does not require Lebanon to arrest Lotfi.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said the American judiciary sent the case related to Lotfi to Lebanon and asked authorities in the Mediterranean nation to follow up on him.

When Lotfi was summoned for questioning by Lebanese authorities earlier this year, the officials said he denied charges that he had stolen antiquities, saying instead he had bought them from archeologists and sold them to a museum in the U.S.

They said it later became clear that the 27 antiquities were stolen in 1981 from a warehouse in Lebanon. The Interpol Red Notice that