US Company Agrees to Surrender Ancient Middle Eastern Artifacts
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United States officials say an American company has agreed to surrender thousands of ancient artifacts from the Middle East.
The company also agreed to pay a $3 million fine to the government.
Federal prosecutors accused Hobby Lobby, a business specializing in arts and crafts, of illegally importing the artifacts into the country.
The government lawyers said in a court statement that Hobby Lobby paid $1.6 million in 2010 for over 5,000 earthen tablets and other objects. Many of the artifacts have examples of cuneiform, one of the earliest known systems of writing.
The artifacts and other objects purchased were sent to several Hobby Lobby stores. The shipments were falsely identified as coming from Turkey and Israel. The shipments were also said to contain samples of "ceramic tiles" or "clay tiles."
Federal prosecutors said an expert warned the company that the artifacts were likely stolen from archaeological areas in Iraq.
Importing Iraqi cultural property into the United States has been banned since 2004, the statement said. Under Iraqi law, all antiquities found in the country are considered property of the state. Private individuals cannot own them without permission from the Iraqi government.
The president of Hobby Lobby, Steve Green, said the company has cooperated with the U.S. government. He also said that the company should have "more carefully questioned" how the objects got into the country.
Green said Hobby Lobby did not purchase any items directly from dealers in Iraq. He said the company had worked with dealers in the United Arab Emirates. He also said that Hobby Lobby "condemns" such acts and has always acted with the aim of protecting "ancient items of cultural and historical importance."
On Thursday, "Hobby Lobby" trended worldwide on Twitter and Facebook. One writer said: "Hobby Lobby looting Iraq was not a story I was expecting but then again this is 2017."
The company has agreed to develop a new policy for buying cultural property. It has also agreed to provide reports to the government about such purchases for 18 months.
Hobby Lobby began starting a collection of historical Bibles and other artifacts in 2009. Its owners are known for having strong Christian beliefs.
Green himself owns one of the world's largest collections of religious artifacts. He is building a Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. The building is set to open later this year.
I'm Dan Friedell.
1.identified as 被认定为
Halsey was identified as a leading proponent of the values of progressive education.
2.Federal prosecutor 联邦检查官
I've just heard some things about you and a certain federal prosecutor.
3.cultural property 文化财产
The research results show that trees have cultural property.
4.agreed to 同意
All the interested parties eventually agreed to the idea.
1.The president of Hobby Lobby, Steve Green, said the company has cooperated with the U.S. government.
has cooperated with 与...合作
Jinnah has cooperated with the British.
China has cooperated with ASEAN in many different areas since ASEAN was established.
2.He said the company had worked with dealers in the United Arab Emirates.
worked with 与...合作
He had worked with the General for three years and was sorry to see him go.
I first worked with him in 1971 when we were both on the lowest rung of our careers.
政府律师在法庭声明中称，2010年，好必来公司花费160万美元购买了5000多件陶制文物和其他工艺品 。其中多件文物上刻有楔形文字，这是已知的最早的文字之一 。
这些工艺品和文物被运至好必来公司的多个分店 。发货地被误认为是土耳其和以色列 。货物名称也注明是“瓷砖”或“陶砖” 。
律师在声明中指出，2004年起，美国禁止进口伊拉克文物 。而伊拉克法律规定，在伊拉克境内发现的所有属于其国有资产 。未经伊拉克政府允许，个人不得私自侵占 。
好必来公司总裁史蒂夫·格林（Steve Green）表示，公司已和美国政府展开合作 。他还表示，公司在调查“所购物品的来源渠道时理应万分谨慎” 。
格林指出，好必来公司并未直接从伊拉克商人处购买任何物品 。他说，公司一直跟阿拉伯联合酋长国的商人打交道 。他还强调，好必来公司“谴责”如此行径，并且始终以保护“具有历史文化意义的古文物”为行事宗旨 。
周四，“好必来”登上推特和脸书的全球热搜榜 。一位作家称：“从没想到好必来会掠夺伊拉克文物，但2017年却爆出了这等丑闻 。”
该公司还同意针对购置文物制定一条新规 。该公司还同意向政府提供18个月的文物类商品的购买报告 。
2009年，好必来公司开始采购古《圣经》和其他工艺品 。收藏古《圣经》的人都拥有坚定的基督教信仰 。
格林本人也是全球最大宗教艺术品收藏者之一 。他正在华盛顿特区建造一座圣经博物馆 。该博物馆预计今年晚些时候开放 。