ACCG Contests Forfeiture of Baltimore Test Case Coins
ACCG Answers Forfeiture Complaint
by Peter Tompa
The ACCG has filed an answer to the Government’s complaint seeking forfeiture of the coins minted in Cyprus and China that were imported for purposes of a case to test regulations imposing import restrictions. That lawsuit was dismissed, but an appellate court indicated that the ACCG could still press a particularized challenge to the Government’s claim that the imported coins are subject to import restrictions. The Answer disputes that the ACCG’s coins are subject to forfeiture, arguing that the subject coins are not treated as “archaeological objects” under applicable law and that the Government has no probable cause to believe that the coins were “first discovered in” and “subject to the export control” of Cyprus or China, a prerequisite for the restrictions to apply. A copy of the ACCG’s answer can be found here.
These coins were imported to initiate a test case in order to determine whether the secretive and in many respects contrary to law procedures followed by the State Department's bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs were justifiable.
The initial effort to have the Federal Court in Baltimore hear the ACCG's preliminary action failed after being taken all the way to the Supreme Court.
However, the forfeiture action must be tried. As part of the discovery process, the ACCG expects to bring to light the innumerable questionable and in some cases unethical proceedings of the bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and particularly the role played by Executive Director Maria Kouroupas.
If, as the ACCG expects, it is determined that the bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has proceeded in an unjustifiable and contrary to law manner, it is reasonable to expect that the Memoranda of Understanding restricting import of ancient coins will be vacated, and that the bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs will be ordered to conduct its affairs in a more transparent manner, specifically fulfilling many reporting and disclosure responsibilities it has heretofore ignored.