Warning Issued to UK Dealers in Iraqi Antiquities

Posted on March 12, 2012


After a piece of a bronze Saddam Hussein statue came into the news last January, Whitehall (the center of Her Majesty’s Government) has published a warning to the art and antiques industry concerning the sale of war trophies.

The UK ministry of culture explained, “Statutory Instrument 2003 No.1519 UNITED NATIONS The Iraq (United Nations Sanctions) Order 2003 restricts the trade in such cultural goods because UN sanctions are still in force.” The 2003 Iraq Sanctions Order regulates the importation of Iraqi cultural property including archaeological, historical, and religious related items. Whitehall’s warning advises people who would like to work with Iraqi cultural property to review UKTI, BIS, and HM Treasury websites or seek independent legal advice to guarantee she does not break the law.

The piece of the bronze Saddam Hussein statue was consigned to Jim Thorpe, a director of a company which specializes in turning war memorabilia into art. Nigel Ely, the former SAS soldier and business partner of Thorpe, listed the piece for auction with the stated intention of donating the profits to charity. Ely was thereafter arrested for illegal exportation, and the Iraqi Embassy had demanded its return.

Read the full article Whitehall issues sanctions warning following Saddam ‘statue’ sale.

Thanks to Kristina Bauer for her assistance with this post.