Those in attendance at the event include representatives of the US Department of State and the US Department of Homeland Security, as well as Vietnamese resident media outlets based in Washington D.C.
Speaking before the return of the cultural artifacts, a representative of the FBI said that through the investigation process which lasted from 2013 to 2014, the FBI’s cultural and art crime investigation team took part in the largest cultural asset seizure in the agency’s history. In doing so, they discovered and seized a large collection featuring over 7,000 cultural artifacts and antiques which had been illegally kept by a US citizen.
The person, before his death, expressed his wish to return the cultural artifacts and antiques to the community and their country of origin.
After classifying, storing, and doing appraisals with experts to determine the origin of the artifacts and antiquities, the FBI has successfully identified a number of undated artifacts originating from Vietnam, including one vase, one tool set consisting of eight pieces of copper, and one stone axe. The FBI therefore desires to return these artifacts to the nation.
Upon receiving the cultural artifacts, Ambassador Dung thanked the efforts of the US government and competent agencies in international co-operation in the prevention of transnational crimes, including cultural and artistic crimes.
According to the diplomat, the seizure, preservation, identification, and return of such a large amount of cultural artifacts and antiques requires a lot of time and effort. This therefore demonstrates the goodwill and commitment of the US in the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).
Under the authorisation of domestic authorities, the Vietnamese Embassy will receive these artifacts and will soon bring them home, handing them over to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the National Museum of History of Vietnam for their assessment, research, and exhibition.
Ambassador Dung said that both sides recently launched a range of bilateral professional co-operation and co-ordination activities on the basis of the “Memorandum of Understanding on prevention and control of transnational crimes” signed between the Ministry of Public Security and the FBI.
Most recently, in February Minister of Public Security To Lam and Christopher Asher Wray, director of the FBI, held online talks on ways to joins forces to combat transnational crimes between the two countries.
The Vietnamese diplomat affirmed that the Vietnamese Embassy is keen to serve as a bridge to further step up ties between ministries, sectors, and agencies of the two nations.