South Asia Center Nonresident Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin writes for Al Monitor on the whereabouts of looted Egyptian artifacts:
Israel has seized “hundreds and hundreds” of looted Egyptian antiquities smuggled through the Sinai desert but has not returned any of them to the Egyptian government, according to the head of a US-Egyptian organization seeking to help stem the rising plunder of Egypt’s cultural artifacts.
Deborah Lehr, chair of The Antiquities Coalition, an organization of private archaeologists, scholars and others working with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, said April 24 that Israel and Switzerland are hubs where criminals consolidate their loot before trying to sell items to collectors. She said the value of antiquities stolen from Egypt since political unrest erupted there in 2011 amounts to between $3 billion and $6 billion.
Since the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, the security situation throughout Egypt has deteriorated, depressing income from tourism and motivating some Egyptians to sell their own heritage. The rise of antiquities theft deprives Egypt of future tourist attractions as well as revenue from legitimate sales and loans to museums and individuals.