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Supreme Court ordered the return of a Greek statue from the Getty Museum to Italy

The return of a bronze statue, which had been made by Lysippos between the fourth and second centuries BC, from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles was decided by the Supreme Court of Italy.

The statue of "Nikephoros Neos" (victorious youth) was discovered by fishermen off Pezaro in 1964 and had been sold several times until it was bought by the American museum in 1977 against almost four million dollars.

Italy, however, argued initially that the statue went unlawfully from the country and submitted a formal request for its return from the United States in 1989. After an 11-year legal dispute, the Italian court rejected J Paul Getty's appeal against the decision of an Italian judge last June and ruled that the statue should be confiscated and returned. As the prosecutor Silvia Ceki said, the decision of the Supreme Court is final and the statue of Lysippos "must be returned". For his part, Culture Minister Alberto Bonizoli called on the US authorities to act quickly.

But the Getty museum refuses to hand over the statue and is preparing to appeal the decision by arguing that the statue was found in international waters energy that is likely to lead to a new litigation.