The jewel of Egypt's antiquities, Tutankhamun's treasures are on a global tour interrupted by Covid-19. They are now stuck in the UK. This investigation questions whether the priceless relics were authorised to even leave Egypt.
Tutankhamun was on a worldwide tour when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Stored in London's Saatchi Gallery, it may not return to Cairo until 2024. The tour is controversial in Egypt, with some claiming the tour breached Egyptian law, and was potentially lubricated through corruption. "I filed a case against the Tutankhamun tour. It breaks the Antiquities Protection Law that stipulates that the [touring] artefact can’t be a unique piece", says lawyer Sayed Said. "And the contracting parties must be official. Not private. Egyptian antiquities are humanity’s ancient heritage. It’s not permissible to treat them in a monetary or materialistic way." However, the USA businessman who organised the multi-million-dollar tour claims no illegality took place. "We have legal documents that were signed by the government officials… And we’re helping bring tourism to the country", says John Norman. The business of touring antiquities worldwide has proven lucrative to some officials, and as they claim, the country as well. "Holding exhibitions abroad yields huge results. Not just economic, but political and touristic results".FULL SYNOPSIS