The former director of the Louvre Museum Jean-Luc Martinez, indicted in an investigation into antiquities trafficking, has been relieved of part of his duties as ambassador for international cooperation in the field of heritage, has announced, Friday, June 3, the Ministry of Culture.

“Pending clarification of his legal situation”, Mr. Martinez was removed “as a precaution” from the “component relating to the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property” as part of his duties as a ambassador for international cooperation in the field of heritage, is it specified in a press release.

Mr. Martinez, at the head of the Louvre from 2013 to 2021, was indicted at the end of May in Paris for “laundering and complicity in fraud in an organized gang”, facts which he disputes “with the utmost firmness,” according to his defense.

Acquisition procedures assessment mission

Since February 2020, an investigating judge has been in charge of the investigations, in this investigation into suspicions of trafficking in antiquities from the Near and Middle East.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi and the Louvre Museum announced on Monday that they were taking civil action in this case, the first claiming to be “victims of trafficking in Egyptian antiquities”.

As part of this investigation, five Egyptian pieces, in the possession of the Metropolitan Museum in New York but potentially the result of looting, were recently seized by the New York courts.

The French Ministry of Culture also announced on Friday the establishment of a mission to assess the procedures for the acquisition of cultural property, the conclusions of which are expected in the summer of 2022.