The war on stolen artefacts 

Switzerland was once a hot destination for stolen cultural artefacts. But now it’s trying hard to secure the return of treasures.  

This content was published on November 12, 2020

It's working closely with the Italian authorities. The latest handover was in October: the Swiss gave the Italian embassy in Bern 27 objects of huge historic and artistic value. These included 26 Etruscan artefacts from a private collection and a 2,000-year-old marble bust, found at the Geneva free port. 

The illicit trafficking of cultural artefacts is the world’s third-largest illegal market, after drugs and weapons. Countries such as Italy, which has a rich cultural heritage, have been working hard for decades to stop it. 

As the Lugano lawyer and expert in art law Dario Jucker explains, stolen cultural property represents a vast illegal market. 

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