- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 30, 2006

BOSTON (AP) — The Museum of Fine Arts has reached a tentative agreement to return antiquities that Italian authorities say were stolen and later sold to the institution, officials said last week.

The museum and the Italian Ministry of Culture said in a statement that officials from both groups met in Rome last week and worked toward a final agreement to transfer “certain objects of Italian origin” in the museum’s collection to Italy.

Italian authorities said this year they were trying get back at least two dozen objects — including a vase, a jar and a statue — from the Museum of Fine Arts as part of an effort to recover works they claim were stolen and sold to museums around the world.

The Museum of Fine Arts and the Italian Ministry of Culture said Italy would loan similar “significant works” to the museum. The museum and Italian officials described the agreement as a “cultural partnership.”

Marion True, former J. Paul Getty Museum curator, and art dealer Robert Hecht are accused of participating in a smuggling ring that placed artwork taken from Italy in American museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts. Both have denied wrongdoing.

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