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Italy Drops Charges Against Ex-Curator Marion True

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Italy has dropped charges of conspiracy and handling looted artifacts against Marion True, former antiquities curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, according to a Getty spokeswoman.

“It’s our understanding charges have been dropped,” the Getty spokeswoman, who declined to be named, said. “We are pleased that charges against Marion True have been dismissed, and we wish her the very best as this long and difficult ordeal is coming to a close.”

The news was greeted with enthusiasm in some quarters of the collecting community.

“It was a politically motivated trial just to send the message: Don’t deal with Italian cultural patrimony or we’ll create a headache for you,” said Torkom Demirjian, president and founder of Ariadne Galleries in New York, which specializes in antiquities. “This whole thing is a bureaucratic and ideological overreach. It’s a political decision to discourage private collecting of antiquities.”

The Getty Museum in August 2007 agreed to return 40 objects to the Italian government, leading Italy to drop civil suits against True. True still faced criminal charges.

The statute of limitations ran out on those charges, and a Rome judge agreed with True’s defense team that the trial should no longer proceed, according to an earlier Associated Press report.

True has denied the charges against her. She had been on trial in Rome for the last five years.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nadja Brandt in Los Angeles at nbrandt@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.

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