[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 November 2006, 18:54 GMT
Forgeries 'used to fund terror'
Victoria and Albert Museum
The Victoria and Albert museum is exhibiting examples of forged art
Forged archaeological artefacts are being used to fund terrorism, police have said.

Profits from fake relics "exported by the tonne load" from the Middle East are finding their way into the hands of terrorists, according to police.

Examples of the seized forgeries and accompanying false documentation are on private display at the Victoria and Albert museum, west London.

The trade in fake art in Britain as a whole is worth up to 200m a year.

We know for a fact that there is a terrorism link
Det Con Ian Lawson

"We know for a fact that there is a terrorism link," said Det Con Ian Lawson.

"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," he added.

The Investigation of Fakes and Forgeries exhibition is designed to show art experts the methods used by forgers to fool investigators.

As quickly as criminals are adapting their techniques we are also developing ways to eliminate this type of crime
Det Sgt Vernon Rapley

Also included in the show is the work of master forger Robert Thwaites, who received a two-year jail sentence after he sold a fake painting to a respected gallery owner for 20,000.

The forgery was so expertly done that the buyer was able to sell it on again for a 300% profit.

According to police, art forgery is increasingly being used to finance operations by criminal networks with continually evolving techniques.

But Det Sgt Rapley, head of the Metropolitan Police's Arts and Antiques Unit, said: "As quickly as criminals are adapting their techniques we are also developing ways to eliminate this type of crime."

Scotland Yard are considering opening the private exhibition to the public next year.


SEE ALSO
The 'Indiana Jones' of Chelsea
22 Aug 06 |  London
Aboriginal art under fraud threat
28 Nov 03 |  Entertainment
Art fraudster to hold fake exhibition
07 Jun 02 |  Entertainment

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific