The Latest

Manhattan DA Bans Former Hedge Fund Manager from Collecting Antiquities

December 7, 2021

Michael Steinhardt Surrenders 180 Stolen Antiquities Valued at $70 million

Washington, December 6, 2021 — The Antiquities Coalition commends Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., his colleagues, and partners for the recovery of 180 stolen antiquities worth an estimated $70 million and securing a lifetime ban on acquiring ancient art for Michael H. Steinhardt.

Steinhardt, the hedge fund billionaire, has previously and repeatedly faced litigation for buying and selling looted and trafficked artifacts. To avoid criminal prosecution, he has now agreed to the unprecedented lifetime ban and to surrender the 180 illicit masterpieces in his collection. The Manhattan DA and Homeland Security Investigations are in the process of returning these cultural treasures to the 11 countries who are their rightful owners.

Many of the items relinquished by Steinhardt came from countries in conflict where extremists and organized crime are known to profit from the illicit trade. The United States is a prime destination for such “blood antiquities,” as it remains the largest art market in the world, with New York at its center. The Manhattan DA’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit, alongside HSI, had recovered several thousand stolen antiquities collectively valued at more than $200 million before the Steinhardt seizure.

We applaud the ongoing efforts of Mr. Vance, the Antiquities Trafficking Unit, and HSI to send a strong signal that collectors, auction houses, and museums will be held accountable for engaging in criminal behavior.

Read the D.A.’s Press Release here.