The British Museum’s director said it is “frustrating” the person who raised concerns about missing items at the institution did not say they had more artefacts.
Emails leaked to BBC News claim the London institution was alerted by an antiquities dealer to the thefts in 2021 and ignored the report.
In a statement to the PA news agency, Hartwig Fischer said: “When allegations were brought to us in 2021 we took them incredibly seriously, and immediately set up an investigation.
“Concerns were only raised about a small number of items, and our investigation concluded that those items were all accounted for.
“We now have reason to believe that the individual who raised concerns had many more items in his possession, and it’s frustrating that that was not revealed to us as it would have aided our investigations.
“In 2022 we embarked on a full audit – which revealed a bigger problem. I reported my concerns to the Trustees, and together we agreed to call in the police. We also then began the disciplinary process that resulted in a member of staff being dismissed.
“I am clear that at every step my priority has been the care of the incredible British Museum collection, and that continues today – with our commitment to learning lessons from the independent review, our determination to help the police with their criminal investigation, and our focus on the recovery programme.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub