Michael Steinhardt is resolutely a man of the old school. He founded his first hedge before George Soros, in 1967, when Bill Ackman and Dan Loeb were still in diapers and before David Einhorn was even born. His sense of humor is defiantly Catskills kitsch, and his sensibilities around women are allegedly equally antediluvian. And while his peers’ and contemporaries’ taste in art run toward the contemporary and cutting edge, Steinhardt himself is a lover of antiquities. And when he saw something particularly fetching and ancient, well, he (allegedly) did what it took to get it.
Authorities began looking into a Bull's Head statue stolen from Lebanon during the country's civil war, determining that Steinhardt had other looted artifacts at his apartment and office, according to prosecutors….
Items seized include the Stag's Head Rhyton, a ceremonial vessel depicting a stag's head which dates to 400 BCE. It came to market after looting in Milas, Turkey, and is valued at $3.5 million today, according to the DA's statement.
Another is the Larnax, a chest from Crete, Greece, used to hold human remains. It dates from 1400-1200 BCE and is valued at $1 million, said the Manhattan DA's office.
Squirreling away 180 stolen artifacts worth some $70 million on the Upper East Side seems very serious, indeed, but even here he is a man of the old school. Just as when the Feds had him dead to rights on two-year Treasurys manipulation 30 years ago, once again Steinhardt knows that settlement is the better part of valor.
Steinhardt's lawyers, Andrew J. Levander and Theodore V. Wells Jr, said in a statement to CNN Tuesday that their client was pleased the DA's investigation had concluded without any charges "and that items wrongfully taken by others will be returned to their native countries."
Steinhardt agreed to the return all 180 seized artifacts to their rightful owners, according to Vance, who said this was a quicker resolution than going to trial.
That being said, much to his chagrin, no doubt, and in a fatal blow to his favorite hobby, Steinhardt is breaking some new ground here.
"Finally, this agreement establishes that Steinhardt will be subject to an unprecedented lifetime ban on acquiring antiquities," said Vance.
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