The seizure consists of what is presumed to be cuneiform tablets and other archaeological objects from ancient Mesopotamia. In total, almost 100 objects of significance to the global cultural heritage have been seized. They are now being examined by experts to determine their authenticity and, if possible, establish their provenance.  

Acting Public Prosecutor Maria Bache Dahl says:  

"Økokrim has assisted the Ministry of Culture in a matter in which Iraqi authorities have reported a large number of ancient artefacts missing which they suspect have been smuggled out of the country. Økokrim's task has been to locate the missing objects. A large number of objects were seized during the search, and a number of witnesses interviewed."  

"Our assistance is not an ordinary police investigation, but is limited to locating the missing objects. The legal basis is the Cultural Heritage Act section 23c."  

As far as Økokrim is aware, this is the first time that this provision has been applied.  

"The Cultural Heritage Act section 23c authorises the police to apply coercive measures, for example conduct searches, even though no one can be held criminally liable for their handling of the objects," says Bache Dahl.  

Økokrim's environmental crime remit includes cultural heritage crime.

Contact person at Økokrim:

Maria Bache Dahl
Acting Public Prosecutor
maria.bache.dahl@politiet.no
tel: 905 19 092

Andreas Lunde
Communications adviser
kommunikasjon.okokrim@politiet.no
tel: 402 00 450