Hmph. I suspected that this authentic Hagia Sophia paperweight that I scored on eBay last week didn’t really date from the fourteenth century. From the Daily Mail, with thanks to PRCS:
Forged archaeological artefacts traded on internet auction sites such as eBay are helping to fund international terrorism, it was disclosed today.
The faked historical relics, purporting to be genuine, Middle Eastern artefacts dating from as far back as 2000 BC, are being sold to innocent collectors and tourists for up to Â£2,000 each.
Police believe the profits are flowing back into criminal networks in the Middle East and that some is helping to fund insurgency in places like Iraq.
Some of the seized artefacts were on display at an exhibition of fake and forged works of art at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London today.
The exhibition is being held by the Metropolitan Police’s specialist Arts and Antiques unit to raise awareness of the increasingly sophisticated fraud, estimated to worth up to Â£200 million a year in Britain alone.
Detective Constable Ian Lawson said of the artefacts: “We know for a fact that there is a terrorism link. Archaeological stuff is being exported by the tonne load from Middle Eastern countries. If the money goes back into criminality, some will inevitably end up in the hands of terrorists.”