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Hungarian-born dealer William Veres, who has run businesses from both Switzerland and London, was arrested at his home in Stanmore, north-west London, on July 4.

Officers made the arrest using an international warrant as part of an Italian-led capture of 23 suspects allegedly from two gangs.

The action, named Operation Demetra, has led to the confiscation of 20,000 artefacts including statues, coins and other artefacts.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Art and Antiques Unit took part in the operation and arrested Veres in London. They recovered a “large amount of antiquities and coins” from Veres’ address in Forge Close, Stanmore.

Veres has been remanded in custody.

Officers from the Met's Arts and Antiques unit worked with officers from the Extradition Unit, Operation Nexus and the Italian police on the operation in the UK.

The Italian police claim artefacts and coins were smuggled out of Sicily, through Italy to Munich, by train, car and plane, where fake documents were forged for the objects to be sold in auction houses in Germany.