ICE press release, 'Federal authorities return ancient coins to Bulgaria May 21, 2013.
In September 2011, HSI special agents learned of a shipment of ancient coins from Bulgaria destined for the United States. HSI New York, in close coordination with CBP’s Customs Air Cargo Examination Facility, examined and seized the coins. An investigation of the coins revealed the shipment contained a false country of origin, a false description of the commodity and were undervalued.The 546 unlawfully taken coins have now been returned to Bulgaria at the ceremony, James T. Hayes Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New York, said "Today our two countries send a message to those who mistakenly perceive cultural theft as a low-risk, high-return business." He did not explain what the risk was, and why it was "higher" just because a few dozen were seized two years ago. Nevertheless they say:
The return of the coins to Bulgaria is a result of the active cooperation between the General Directorate for Combating Organized Crime within the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Bulgaria and the expertise of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – both HSI and CBP – in its shared efforts to prevent, solve and document transnational cultural heritage crimes. HSI is continuing to look for connections to organized crime related to stolen illicit property out of Bulgaria.Absolutely nothing is said (as usual) of either the importer or exporter, were they identified? Who were they? Were they members of any professional bodies (IAPN, PNG, ACCG)? Did the importer operate openly from a shop, through eBay or V-coins? How many more consignments of Bulgarian coins had this importer imported before this one was seized? Has he or she imported any more since? Is he or she continuing to import and offer for sale on the US no-questions-asked market more Bulgarian coins? Or is the importer awaiting trial?
Members of the public who have information about suspected stolen cultural property are urged to call the toll-free HSI tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or to complete its online tip form.
Meanwhile the ACCG seized coin forfeit case is going forward, once again I ask (maybe we will get an answer) was the importer in this recent case an ACCG member, or a donor to the ACCG benefit auctions? If the latter, what coins of his passed through ACCG hands?