Hicham Aboutaam

Wall Street Journal Sued by Antiquities Dealer Over ISIS Story

Hicham Aboutaam, an antiquities dealer, has brought a libel suit against the Wall Street Journal over an article published in May that claimed he and his brother were being investigated by Switzerland, France, Belgium, and the US for handling ISIS-looted artifacts, writes Barry Meier of the New York Times. It seems that the dealer’s reputation has been damaged since the story came out. A $50,000 donation to the Toledo Museum of Art for an antiquities-rich exhibition, “The Berlin Painter and His World”—given on his gallery’s behalf, Phoenix Ancient Art, based in New York—has been returned.

Colleen Schwartz, a representative for the paper, said in a statement that the piece was “thoroughly reported, fair and wholly accurate. We fully stand by the article and will mount a robust defense to Hicham Aboutaam’s lawsuit.”

Published May 31, the article said that the Aboutaams were not charged with any wrongdoing in regards to the investigations. The brothers are on a list of fifteen other dealers who are also being looked into by French authorities, but the people in that grouping were not named in the story.