In 2015, the Honolulu Museum of Art did not hesitate to transfer seven Indian antiquities that were in its collection to the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) when the government agency informed the museum that it owned artwork that likely was looted from an archeological site in India. The handover of art was part of HSI’s ongoing investigation, called Operation Hidden Idol, of former New York antiquities dealer Subhash Kapoor. See HoMA’s story on the handover.
Now, four years later, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has charged Kapoor with running a multinational ring that trafficked in thousands of stolen objects, valued at more than $145 million, over 30 years.
The museum is proud to have done its part in this case to ensure artwork removed illegally from its country of origin is repatriated. When the museum’s board immediately voted to hand the seven artworks to HSI, it made HoMA one of the first to comply with the investigation. “There was no question that we had to do the right thing,” says HoMA Interim Director and Trustee Mark Burak. “We’re glad to learn of this update on the case.”
Read more about the Hidden Idol progress: