The former president and director of the Louvre has been charged since May 2022, in particular with complicity in organized gang fraud.
The Court of Cassation on Tuesday rejected an appeal by former Louvre president and director Jean-Luc Martinez, who is contesting his indictment in a multi-part investigation into extensive antiquities trafficking, according to a ruling consulted by AFP on Wednesday. The highest court of French justice rejected all the arguments presented. Jean-Luc Martinez, 59, who ran the Louvre from 2013 to 2021, specifically argued that there was no serious and consistent evidence to justify his indictment and that his detention was improper. In doing so, he challenged the decision of the investigative panel of the Paris Court of Appeal, which rejected his request for annulment in February. His lawyer did not want to speak.
The former executive director of the Agence France museum, Jean-François Charnier, also indicted since 2022, has also appealed. In its decision, the Court of Cassation asks the investigative panel to review the legality of his police detention. “Jean-François Charnier welcomes this decision (…) which should lead to the annulment of his indictment“said his lawyer Me Corinne Hershkovitch.
The former president and director of the Louvre has been charged since May 2022, in particular with complicity in organized gang fraud. He was accused that in 2016modifies the report on the origin of the Tutankhamun stele», sold for 8.5 million euros in the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum, and that it will have »facilitated the false justification of origin» of this work and six other Egyptian pieces. Jean-Luc Martinez is suspected of ignoring warnings due to suspicion of false certificates of origin for these items. “I want to assure that I had no knowledge of these tips and false documents, and otherwise that was not my role“, he said this spring before the investigating judge.
In the years leading up to the inauguration of Louvre Abu Dhabi in 2017, “the pressure I felt was due to the architectural success and the quality of the loan and the French exhibitions», he added, rejecting any pressure from the emirates or political authorities in France.
The Central Bureau of Anti-Trafficking in Cultural Property (OCBC), responsible for investigations, is seeking to determine responsibility for the sale of hundreds of antiquities that resulted from looting in Middle Eastern countries destabilized by the Arab Spring. At least nine people have been charged in this judicial investigation.