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The former president of the Louvre faces preliminary charges of illegally trading in antiquities during his tenure as head of the famous Parisian museum, AP reported.

French capital police have charged Jean-Luc Martinez with complicity in organized fraud and money laundering, according to the Paris prosecutor's office.

Prosecutors said two of Martinez's former colleagues from the Louvre's department of Egyptian antiquities were also taken into custody this week but released without charge.

The Paris prosecutor's office has not confirmed French media reports that the three men are suspected of being involved in the trade in priceless items.

According to the newspaper Le Canard Enchaine, investigators were looking into whether Martinez turned a blind eye to false evidence of the origin of five Egyptian antiquities.

The newspaper said the items included a granite stele or slab of Tutankhamun sold in 2016 when the Louvre Abu Dhabi branch purchased several Egyptian antiquities for tens of millions of euros.

Last year, Martinez stepped down as president of the Louvre, which he had held since 2013. Now he is an ambassador for international cooperation in the field of cultural heritage. The current president of the museum is Lawrence de Kars.

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