Historic religious statue returns to Italy with support of Eurojust

Rome: The historic Italian statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, which holds great religious importance, has been returned to Italy from the Netherlands with judicial support from Eurojust. The religious artefact was stolen in 2014 from a church in Pastena on the Amalfi Coast and later bought by a Dutch collector. The Agency assisted the Italian authorities with the rapid execution of a European Investigation Order (EIO) to arrange for its return to the Pastena parish.

The statue, which is around 700 years old, was stolen from the church in August 2014 and offered for sale via an Italian antique dealer. It was bought in good faith by a Dutch collector who intended to resell it and posted pictures on social media. These were spotted by the parish priest of Pastena, who contacted the Italian authorities.

An investigation was launched by the special Cultural Heritage Unit of the Italian Carabinieri and the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Salerno, which later contacted Eurojust to initiate the process of retrieving and returning the artefact to the Amalfi Coast. The Agency not only assisted with the execution of the EIO but also provided further cross-border judicial support to the authorities in Italy and the Netherlands. The transfer of the statue took place in recent days.