Albanian Daily News - Dec 14

Greek police arrest smugglers of Kosovo religious art

Albanian Economic Tribune

ATHENS - Four alleged smugglers arrested by Greek police were dealing in works of art stolen from Serbian monasteries in Kosovo, newspapers reported Saturday.

Police raids on the suspects’ homes in Salonika turned up 17 ecclesiastical books from the 19th century, engravings of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ and two 18th century icons. Also found were six early Christian coins and six typographic plates which could only have come from Serbia or Kosovo, according to experts.

The head of the Greek police’s antiquities unit Stergios Apostolidis said that the works of art appeared to have been looted from monasteries in Kosovo, and possibly also Albania.

The suspected leader of the group, the Albanian national Kostandin Nano and his wife were both arrested. Nano told police he had bought the religious items in Albania from people who claimed they had been stolen from churches and monasteries in Kosovo.

Police said they came across the relics after arresting two men Savvas Dimitriadis, 49, and Sotiris Tsakalou, 57, for attempting to sell other artifacts to an undercover policeman. They attempted to sell an ancient gravestone from the Roman period, a small ancient statue head and an ancient marble sink at a price of 32 million drachmas ($98,700). (

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