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Fake certificates of authenticity and fake "Laissez-passer ICOM-UNESCO"

UNESCO and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) have been alerted to an online scam offering fake certificates of authenticity and a “Laissez-passer ICOM-UNESCO”.

Fraudulent websites, claim to provide certificates of authenticity permitting the unrestricted import and export of African cultural heritage in return for a fee. These falsified certificates supposedly release the bearer from all obligations such as requiring other documents: the title deed, the export certificate, the export license, the certificate of expertise, the certificate of authenticity etc.

This fee is then, according to these websites, shared between UNESCO, ICOM, the national museums and the Ministries of Arts and Culture in the country in question. THIS IS NOT TRUE.

Art collectors and tourists (notably in the West African region) are falling victim in relation to this scam.

UNESCO and ICOM encourage the exercise of vigilance when taking part in transactions involving cultural heritage property, in particular African artifacts.

For further information, please contact:

UNESCO: 1970convention(at)unesco.org

ICOM: illicit.trafficking(at)icom.museum ; Tel: +33 (0)1 47 34 05 00

Photo gallery: examples of fraudulent UNESCO and ICOM certificates

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