Museum director arrested as Croesus fakes exposed

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The Independent Online

The director of a state museum in Turkey has been arrested after police discovered that two ancient artefacts from the collection of the ancient king Croesus had been stolen and replaced with fakes.

Turkish police arrested the director, Kazim Akbiyikoglu, along with eight others yesterday after receiving an anonymous letter informing them of the theft of a gold brooch depicting a winged sea monster and a coin. Both belonged to Croesus, who ruled the Lydians in Turkey in the 6th century BC.

The pieces were part of a 363-piece collection which became known as the "Lydian Hoard" after being stolen from Usak Museum in northern Turkey in the 1960s. The Metropolitan Museum in New York bought the pieces and put them on display, prompting a lengthy legal battle with the Turkish authorities. The museum eventually admitted that it knew the pieces were stolen when it bought them, and was forced to return them in 1993.

The governor of Usak, Kayhan Kavas, said that the thefts probably occurred between March and August last year, and could not have been carried out "without the knowledge of museum authorities".