Antiquities Dealers Arrested in Hobby Lobby Probe

One of the objects seized during Sunday's arrest of antiquities dealers in Jerusalem.
One of the objects seized during Sunday's arrest of antiquities dealers in Jerusalem.
(Israeli police via NPR)

On Sunday, Israeli authorities arrested 5 Palestinian antiquities dealers in Jerusalem. Officials contend that the dealers are connected to the illegal sales of antiquities to Hobby Lobby, the U.S. arts and crafts supply chain that has been acquiring thousands of ancient objects.

Israeli authorities say Hobby Lobby president Steve Green purchased around $20 million in objects, from 2010 to 2014, from the dealers. Hobby Lobby is behind a new Museum of the Bible which is under construction and to be filled with ancient artifacts.

Hobby Lobby last month forfeited thousands of smuggled Iraqi antiquities and paid a $3 million fine in the U.S. Questions remain about the Hobby Lobby's acquisitions---pieces have been shown to have been purchased with false invoices and misleading labels.

At 430,000 square feet, the Museum of the Bible is set to become one of the largest museums in Washington, D.C. 

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