Greek authorities announced on Friday the arrest of four people in Crete, Greece, on charges of attempting to sell a priceless 3,500-year-old statuette of a young man, dated to the mid-Minoan era for the princely sum of one million euros. The 30cm-high bronze statuette is of a young man in worship, his hands folded across his chest, making it a unique find of its type throughout the island of Crete.
The figure has long hair, a gold-plated belt and remains of gold leaf on its calves and left knee. At the base is a peg, indicating that it was probably set on a pedestal in an area of worship. Archaeologists at the Lasithi Antiquities Ephorate have dated the statuette to the 16-15 century B.C.
The case was cracked as a result of a coordinated police operation that culminated in the arrests of four men, two aged 35 and two aged 41. Police initially stopped one of the 35-year-olds driving a car, in which they found an ancient bronze artifact. The other three men were following behind in two private trucks and were also arrested.
The Greek Police inquiry revealed that the suspects had illegal possession of the statuette and two of them had shown this to unknown prospective buyers, while the other two were acting as lookouts along the route.
The statuette was handed over to the Antiquities Ephorate and the car was confiscated as evidence, while police are continuing the inquiry.
The four suspects were led to the prosecutor.