A Costa Rican citizen accused of illegally exporting some 1,400 pieces of pre-Colombian art was acquitted by a court in this northwestern Spanish city, his attorney told Efe Tuesday.
Prosecutors sought a two-year prison term and a fine of 60 million euros ($81 million) for Leonard Patterson in a case involving pieces valued at 53.5 million euros ($73 million).
The court found no proof showing that the antiquities belonged "to the Spanish Historical Heritage," defense lawyer Ramon Sabin said.
The deeds that were considered to be proven do not constitute any crime, the judge found.
During the trial, both the accused and his attorney tried to show that the regional government of Galicia took charge of the arrival of the collection in Spain and that nobody warned Patterson of the need to ask permission of the Culture Ministry to return the pieces to Germany, where he lives.
The pre-Colombian antiquities at the heart of the case were exhibited at several different venues in Santiago de Compostela and then placed in the warehouses of the Boquete moving company, where they remained in a secure room for a decade until March 2008.
At that time, Patterson - the prosecution said - committed the crime of smuggling the art by ordering the collection to be transferred to Munich. EFE