Iraqi Art Thieves Were Mobsters, Ashcroft Asserts

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Organized crime was involved in the looting of Iraq’s national museum, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft told an Interpol meeting Tuesday in Lyon, France.

The comments came at a conference of art experts and law enforcement officials aimed at creating a database listing items looted in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

“From the evidence that has emerged, there is a strong case to be made that the looting and theft of the artifacts were perpetrated by organized criminal groups – criminals who knew precisely what they were looking for,” Ashcroft said.

Ashcroft did not say whether he suspected international organized crime – such as the Mafia – was involved in the looting, but other experts at the conference said they did not have any evidence of such involvement so far.


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