Earlier this month, Egypt’s general prosecutor announced that former antiquities chief Zahi Hawass* will face charges of wasting public funds and breaking the country’s antiquities laws. Most of the charges stem from Hawass’s 2003 agreement with the National Geographic Society to transport and display rare artifacts from the Egyptian Museum as part of a traveling museum exhibition in the U.S. and Australia. According to reports, the exhibition was intended to raise funds for a private association headed by Suzanne Mubarak, wife of former president Hosni Mubarak. As the Mubarak association was not a state body, Hawass was in violation of Egyptian antiquities law, which prohibits the renting of Egyptian cultural heritage.
* See Hershel Shanks, “Egypt’s Chief Archaeologist Defends His Rights (and Wrongs),” Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 2011.