During his testimony during the interim review of the Italian MOU, antiquities dealer representative Bill Pearlstein made a good point about the US Customs' recent seizure of two ancient vases. See http://culturalpropertyobserver.blogspot.com/2009/10/us-customs-announces-recovery-of.html The vases that were consigned to an auction were apparently identified as coming from the Medici stash of illicit artifacts, but Italy has apparently never listed the artifacts -- known from pictures- on the Art Loss Register. Italy has thus not allowed U.S. auction houses the opportunity to research these pieces before they are listed for auction. Instead of providing U.S. auction houses the means to identify such artifacts. Italian and U.S. authorities would rather lay in wait for such pieces to be listed for auction-- and then sweep in with maximum publicity to seize the artifacts.
Are the Italians and US Customs more interested in playing "gotcha" than anything else? Some might conclude, "you betcha!"