Legal battle between a German looter and his German agent
And some more...
In 1998, German treasure hunter Tilman Walterfang found over 60,000 pieces of ancient Chinese ceramic dating to between the 7th and 10th centuries, near the Bangka-Belitung islands. The discovery was praised as one of the most important ever in Asia, as it helped archeologists understand the ancient trade route known as the 'Silk Road of the sea'.
While the recovered materials were valued at about $80 million, Walterfang ended up paying Indonesia only $2.5 million in cash plus a number of unsold pieces.
To avoid paying the state its share of the treasure, Walterfang, who was reportedly financed by Matthias Dragger, a wealthy heir to Germany's Dragger family fortune, and his affluent brother-in-law Hans Michael Jebsen, director and co-owner of Jebsen & Co., a leading Hong Kong-based trading company, allegedly bribed several high-ranking officials in the Defense Ministry and the Navy.
German publication Der Spiegel, in its Jan. 30, 2006, edition, reported that Walterfang sold most of the ceramic pieces to the Singapore government in 2005 for $32 million, while taking recovered gold pieces to Germany and a large part of the remaining ceramics to New Zealand.
'We are still investigating the case. Unfortunately, all of the ship's crew, including the German, has left Indonesia. We are trying to trace him to find out why the state received so little,' a police officer close to the investigation told the Post. (Abdul Khalik)