Ministry man ‘stole artifacts’

A 61-year-old Culture Ministry employee yesterday faced charges of antiquities theft after police discovered several ancient artifacts, religious icons and coins at his home in Athens. A search of the suspect’s home turned up dozens of amphoras as well as bronze coins dating to the 4th century BC and two Byzantine religious icons. The 61-year-old reportedly told police that he had inherited the artifacts but archaeological experts said the items had been illegally excavated. In a related development, the trial of the former curator of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, charged in connection with the alleged theft and illegal sale of an ancient gold wreath in the early 1990s, began in Athens yesterday. Marion True, the former curator of the museum which returned the wreath to Greece earlier this year, was not present at the trial. True has denied any wrongdoing.