Paris police break up fake African art gang

A remarkable news item from Paris:

French police have uncovered one of the largest networks ever of fake African art in France. Twenty-two people were arrested and seven held in custody earlier this week after a six-month investigation.

Suspects had conned people into buying counterfeit works of art, which they had made look antique. The crooks used urine and cashewnut paste to give brand-new African wooden sculptures an antique look, selling them for around 100,000 euros a piece – well below the going rate for the real article. They targeted tourists and art lovers, approaching them as they left chic art galleries in central paris.

According to Le Parisien daily, which revealed the scam, police seized 500 pieces, including Fang masks from Gabon and Punu statues, from a workshop in Paris’s swish St Germain des Près district. The operation had been going on for more than a year.

Fakers beware !