EUROPEAN law enforcement agencies have co-operated to seize tens of thousands of cultural goods that were illegally being offered for sale, mainly on the internet.
Coins, paintings, drawings, furniture, musical instruments, porcelain, archaeological and paleontological objects, books and manuscripts and sculptures have all been seized.
In a single raid in Spain, the Guardia Civil seized more than 2,000 cultural objects.
Most of them were coins from Roman and other Empires and archaeological objects made of ceramic, metal and stone.
In addition, 88 pieces of ivory were seized during the searches, including a carving of Christ valued at €6,000, 39 historical firearms such as rifles, shotguns, revolvers and pistols, swords and a crossbow.
As a result of the Europe-wide and subsequent global investigations, codenamed Athena and Pandora II, goods have now been seized all over the world.
As well as seizures, there have been tens of thousands of checks and controls in various airports, ports and other border crossing points, as well as in auction houses, museums and private homes.
More than 200 investigations have been opened and 53 persons arrested to date.
The ongoing investigation in Spain started when items were spotted for sale on the internet.