Seuso murder investigation suspended

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Police have suspended the investigation into Hungary’s arguably most notorious art crime, the killing of József Sümegh, Magyar Hírlap reported.

The Seuso (also spelled Sevso) treasure is a hoard of 14 silver objects from the late Roman Empire, discovered in Hungary by Sümegh – then a young soldier – in 1975 or 1976 near the town of Polgárdi, some 80 kilometers southwest of Budapest.

Sümegh’s dead body was found in a nearby cellar in 1980. The official investigation at the time determined that he had committed suicide, but later the police came to the conclusion that he had been killed and the investigation into his murder remained active until now.

The first objects were offered for sale by an Austrian art dealer in London in 1980 and eventually what is believed to be the complete set of 14 pieces was purchased by a consortium led by Spencer Compton, 7th Marquess of Northampton.

Seuso Treasure

The Hyppolitus set

After a long and convoluted legal and bargaining process – also involving Croatia, who claimed that the treasure was originally discoverd in what was then Yugoslavia around 1960 on the Istrian peninsula –  Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán announced on 26th of March, 2014 that half of the Seuso Treasure (seven items) had been returned to Hungary, for a sum of €15 million.

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