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Man guilty in NY in ancient-statue smuggling case

Friday - 12/6/2013, 10:00pm  ET

NEW YORK (AP) -- A former manager of a now-closed New York art gallery has pleaded guilty for his role in an international scheme to smuggle ancient Buddhist and Hindu sculptures.

Federal officials say Aaron Freedman pleaded guilty in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on Friday to conspiracy and criminal possession of stolen property worth $35 million.

Authorities say the Princeton, N.J., resident admitted helping the Art of the Past gallery's owner ship stolen items from India, Pakistan and elsewhere.

The gallery owner is in Indian custody. He faces stolen property charges in New York.

A defense lawyer tells the New York Post (http://bit.ly/1gLskh9 ) that Freedman is taking steps toward rectifying his mistakes.

Officials say Freedman helped sell a $5 million stolen statue of Shiva Nataraja that's displayed at the National Gallery of Australia. The gallery says it'll work with authorities.


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