Well, that is one way this sorry tale can be spun: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/culturemonster/2012/01/italian-antiquities-robert-hecht-case-ends.html
After all the headlines, Bob Hecht, the alleged middleman at the center of an international conspiracy to launder looted art, has been freed because the statute of limitations has run under Italian law.
Paolo Ferri, Hecht's prosecutor, points the fingers at the "system." but presumably Ferri was responsible for moving the case forward, and with a little less show boating, perhaps that might have actually happened within the allotted time.
In any event, without a conviction in such a high profile case, perhaps Hecht can feel vindicated, at least to some extent.
The Italian show trial did convince US Museums to repatriate significant pieces to Italy. I wonder though, whether any have any nagging doubts about that now, at least with respect to some pieces. Also, the trial likely helped convince the AAMD and others to adopt a 1970 provenance rule. The foolishness of that decision is only now being felt, but nagging doubts about that one will grow too as fewer and fewer items become available for accession under these rules.