A Romanian court sentenced a German national on charges of looting Dacian treasure from the 1st century from an archaeological site in western Romania and smuggling them out of the country.
The Bucharest Court of Appeal on Thursday handed a three-year suspended sentence to Zeno Pop for stealing a heavy gold bangle, Dacian ornaments, Geto-Dacian and Roman coins, ceramic and stone artefacts, Agerpres reported.
The treasure trove of gold and silver artifacts, stolen between 2000 and 2001, which was worth tens of millions of euros, was displayed at Romania’s National History Museum in 2018 after they were discovered in Austria in 2015 following a cross-border investigation.
The artifacts_473 coins and 18 bracelets— were taken from archeological sites in the Orastie Mountains that had been inhabited by Dacians, who fought against the Romans in the early 2nd century.
Prosecutors said that between 2005 and 2015, Mr Pop, who is in his 70s, obtained and sold numerous national heritage items that had been plundered from archaeological sites in Romania
Mr Pop and his intermediaries had taken the artifacts to auction houses and antique shops claiming „they are from my late grandparent’s collection,” former General Prosecutor Augstin Lazar said.
The court ordered to pay the culture ministry about 73,000 euros and perform unpaid community work in Bucharest’s first district for 80 days.
In 2006 the defendant sold a gold multi-spiral bangle, weighing almost one kilogram to a Bulgarian collector that had been looted from an archaeological site in the Orastiei claiming that it was from a private collection.
It was returned to the Romanian judicial authorities in 2011 with the cooperation of the buyer.
It is currently in the custody of the Romanian National History Museum, and is the 13th bangle recovered by the Romanian authorities out of a total of 15 bangles stolen from archaeological sites between 2000 and 2001.
Invoices dated between 2007 and 2013, showed he sold to various individuals or companies in Europe and the U.S., such as Roman denarii, and an Eastern Celtic drachma.
Intermediaries were also sent to trial and convicted.