MADRID (Reuters) – Spain has seized ancient gold artefacts valued at 60 million euros ($63.6 million) stolen from Ukraine after thieves were caught trying to sell them in Madrid, Spanish police said on Monday.
The 11 pieces, primarily jewellery including intricate necklaces, bracelets and earrings, are dated from the Greco-Scythian period between the 8th and 4th centuries BC, police said.
The items were exhibited in a Kyiv museum between 2009-2013, and were smuggled out of Ukraine in 2016, Madrid National Police said in a statement, without identifying the museum.
The artefacts had forged documents to make it look as if they belonged to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, police said.
Three Spanish and two Ukrainian nationals were arrested as part of the investigation, which began in 2021, after one of the pieces – a gold belt with rams’ heads – was sold in a private sale in Madrid.
($1 = 0.9439 euros)
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo; editing by Charlie Devereux and Deborah Kyvrikosaios)