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12-Jan-2016 01:44

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In apartments rented by Dikman, police found frescoes, mosaics, and icons estimated to be worth more than million.

The artworks were taken to the Bavarian National Museum for evaluation, while Dikman was taken to prison.

Speaking after Dikman's arrest, Athanassios Papageorgiou, an expert in Byzantine art who works for the Cypriot church, told Reuters, "We have managed to catch the mastermind of the whole smuggling operation." A chronology of what is known of Dikman's activities over the past two decades suggests that his role was a central one. In the Turkish Cypriot weekly magazine Olay for May 17, 1982, Mehmet Yasin reports that Dikman was detained by security officials in Kyrenia the preceding week and was on a list of antiquities smugglers sought by police. The Menil Foundation of Houston, with approval of Cypriot government and church authorities, purchases from Dikman thirteenth-century frescoes of Christ Pantokrator ("All Sovereign") and the Virgin with archangels stolen from the Church of the Blessed Themonianos near the village of Lysi in northern Cyprus.

Criminal proceedings have begun against him for possessing and disposing of stolen goods, and, if convicted, Dikman faces up to 15 years in jail.

It was not until 1989 that the extent of his role became somewhat clearer through testimony in the Goldberg case, a legal battle in federal court in Indianapolis over Byzantine mosaics from Cyprus.That nearly nine years passed from Dikman's exposure in the Goldberg case to his arrest in 1997 is a troubling commentary on the lack of a concerted international effort to end the destruction and trafficking in Cyprus' heritage.

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