“Over the last decade we’ve learned from those with lived experience, and from our own experience on the ground: criminally prosecuting prostitution does not make us safer, and too often, achieves the opposite result by further marginalizing vulnerable New Yorkers,” said District Attorney Vance.
“For millions of Americans, this trial awakened fresh feelings of heartbreak, horror, and outrage that they experienced upon first watching video of Mr. Floyd’s senseless and brutal murder.”
During the ceremony, the Afghan ambassador praised the office of the district attorney, Cy Vance Jr., for arranging the return. Mr. Vance’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit, overseen by the Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bogdanos, said that over the past decade, it has recovered several thousand stolen antiquities collectively valued at more than $175 million, from more than a dozen nations.
“Crimes of culture involving looted and stolen religious relics, such as the nearly two dozen Buddhist statues being repatriated today to the people of Afghanistan, not only tear at the societal fabric of nations but also deprive millions of believers worldwide of the earliest sacred symbols of their faith,” said District Attorney Vance.
“As alleged, Mr. Blotnick repeatedly took advantage of a system intended to provide lifelines to small businesses and their employees during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said District Attorney Vance. “At a time when nearly 3,000 businesses were forced to close their doors across New York City, Mr. Blotnick diverted millions in vital PPP funds for his own personal gain.”